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Western Digital Reimagines the Hard Drive

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At the company’s HDD Reimagine event, Western Digital introduced a new flash-enhanced drive architecture that breaks traditional boundaries of storage. Building on the company’s unique ability to innovate with HDD and flash, the new storage architecture with OptiNAND technology optimises and integrates HDDs with iNAND embedded flash drives. This gives customers – like hyperscale cloud, CSPs, enterprises, smart video surveillance partners, NAS suppliers, and more – a solution to meet the exponential growth in data creation by delivering the capacity, performance, and reliability needed to store vast amounts of data today and well into the future.

Leveraging industry-first technologies including a triple-stage actuator (TSA) and HelioSeal technology, the first products featuring the new drive architecture will deliver an unsurpassed 2.2TB per platter, extending capacity gains on proven ePMR technology. Setting a new industry milestone, Western Digital has shipped samples of new nine-disk, 20TB ePMR flash-enhanced drives with OptiNAND technology to select customers.

“Western Digital has a history of hard drive architecture innovations, such as when HGST (now part of Western Digital) first hermetically sealed and shipped helium HDDs in 2013,” said Ed Burns, research director for hard disk drives at IDC. “Driven by the growth of AI, ML, blockchain, IoT, sensors, and more, there’s no doubt that new storage innovations are needed to store and protect today’s data growth, especially at scale. As the only company manufacturing both flash and HDDs, Western Digital can uniquely leverage their in-house capabilities to extend the areal density curve of ePMR drives for generations to come, helping customers meet the growing demands of a digital economy.”

“This new architecture is a natural extension of Western Digital’s strengths and capabilities, delivering a new evolution of storage to the market,” said Billy Chen, vice president of New H3C Group, president of Compute and Storage Product Line. “As an early customer, the OptiNAND technology is exciting as it will help us meet our storage needs for years to come.”

Unlike a hybrid drive where flash is used to store user data, the new architecture is a breakthrough in storage that works differently, enabling advances on multiple dimensions of storage capability. By adding vertically integrated iNAND to its world-class HDDs, and with enhanced firmware algorithm and SoC innovations, Western Digital’s flash-enhanced drives with OptiNAND technology deliver improved capacity, performance, and reliability to help customers meet growing storage demands.

Highlights include:

  • Capacity: The drive works smarter, with enhanced firmware algorithms taking advantage of expanded metadata that has been offloaded to the iNAND, enabling more tracks per inch (TPI) with resulting increased areal density.
  • Performance: Drive latency is improved with proprietary optimizations to drive firmware focused on requiring fewer adjacent track interference (ATI) refreshes and reducing the need for write cache flushes in write cache-enabled mode.
  • Reliability: Nearly 50x more customer data can be retained in the event of emergency power off (EPO) scenario, and with Western Digital’s unique capabilities in vertically integrated supply, design, development, testing and qualification of flash-enhanced drives, customers can count on the drive’s reliability.

“With our IP and world-class development teams in HDD and flash, we are able to continuously push the boundaries of innovation to improve our customers’ storage infrastructure,” said Siva Sivaram, president of Global Technology and Strategy, Western Digital. “We have had an extraordinary journey of HDD innovation. We changed everything with HelioSeal in 2013; were first to ship energy-assisted HDDs in volume in 2019, and now we’re going to lead again with OptiNAND technology. This architecture will underpin our HDD technology roadmap for multiple generations as we expect that an ePMR HDD with OptiNAND will reach 50TB in the second half of the decade.” 

The new flash-enhanced drive architecture with OptiNAND technology will be available across the company’s portfolio of drives and storage platforms. It will also serve as the foundation for future designs and innovations, with further advances to come in intelligence, reliability, capacity, and time-to-market value. The company will begin announcing market-specific, purpose-built products across its portfolio later this year.

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Components

TEAMGROUP Launches the MP44Q M.2 PCIe 4.0 SSD

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Team Group has launched TEAMGROUP MP44Q M.2 PCIe 4.0 Solid State Drive, featuring the latest 3D QLC NAND technology, combining cutting-edge technology with the trend of demanding high storage capacity to meet daily system and file storage needs. TEAMGROUP MP44Q M.2 PCIe 4.0 SSD utilises the latest 3D QLC NAND, offering capacities of up to 4TB. With the PCIe Gen4 x4 interface and SLC Caching technology, it achieves maximum sequential read and write speeds of up to 7,400 MB/s and 6,500 MB/s, respectively.

The MP44Q SSD operates with low power consumption, catering to all document processing and storage applications, significantly enhancing work efficiency. Paired with TEAMGROUP’s exclusively patented graphene heat dissipation sticker, whose thickness is less than 1 mm, eliminating the potential for mechanical interference in any assembly, coupled with the native heat sink of the motherboard, such an arrangement effectively addresses the heat generated by high performance, extending the SSD’s lifespan.

Additionally, it supports TEAMGROUP’s exclusively patented SSD intelligent monitoring software, S.M.A.R.T., allowing for quick and easy configuration and testing, effortlessly monitoring the quality and performance of the SSD. The product also provides the latest QLC high-speed Gen4 x4 SSD to cater to various storage needs for both life and work.

The packaging of TEAMGROUP MP44Q M.2 PCIe 4.0 SSD adopts recyclable packaging materials and has passed RoHS, REACH, and other environmental protection certifications with the effort of contributing to sustainable living. The product comes with a comprehensive 5-year warranty, ensuring consumer confidence in product quality. It is expected to be available globally starting in early May 2024.

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Earbuds

Nothing Intros Ear and Ear (a) Powered by ChatGPT

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Nothing has revamped its audio product line with two new wireless earbuds: Nothing Ear and Nothing Ear (a).

The company also announced groundbreaking ChatGPT integration for its earbuds and smartphones, marking an industry first.

The new earbuds represent a culmination of three years of design and engineering, catering to both audiophiles and everyday listeners.

“Ear” prioritizes audio quality, while “Ear (a)” is designed for daily use.

Features of the Nothing Ear:

  • Enhanced Sound: Custom 11mm drivers and a refined dual-chamber design deliver richer audio with crisper highs and clearer sound.
  • High-Resolution Audio: Supports LHDC 5.0 and LDAC codecs for high-fidelity Bluetooth streaming.
  • Advanced Equalizer: Offers extensive customization options through the Nothing X app, including pre-sets and personalized profiles based on hearing tests.
  • Industry-Leading Noise Cancellation: Features Nothing’s most effective ANC yet, with Smart ANC auto-adjusting for optimal noise reduction (up to 45 dB).
  • Extended Playtime: Up to 40.5 hours of battery life with the charging case, with fast charging capabilities.
  • Improved Call Clarity: Advanced Clear Voice Technology and wind reduction design for clear calls.
  • Seamless Connectivity: Dual Connection allows switching between devices, while Low Lag Mode reduces audio delay for gaming.

Features of the Nothing Ear (a):

  • Eye-Catching Design: Features Nothing’s signature transparency with a playful bubble design and a vibrant yellow color option.
  • Noise Cancellation on Demand: Offers ANC with Smart and Adaptive modes for personalized noise reduction (up to 45 dB).
  • Powerful Sound: Delivers deeper bass thanks to its new driver and dual-chamber design.
  • Hi-Resolution Audio Certified: Supports LDAC codec for high-quality Bluetooth streaming.
  • Long Battery Life: Up to 42.5 hours of playtime with the charging case, with fast charging capabilities.
  • Dual Connection and Low Lag Mode: Provides seamless connectivity and reduced audio lag for a smooth user experience.

Nothing is pushing boundaries by integrating ChatGPT with its earbuds and Nothing OS. This allows users with the latest Nothing OS and ChatGPT to access AI capabilities directly from their earbuds and smartphones through pinch-to-speak functionality. Further integration within Nothing OS is promised, including screenshot sharing and Nothing-styled widgets. Nothing Ear will be priced at AED 549, while Nothing Ear (a) will be available for AED 379. Pre-orders in the UAE start on April 22nd.

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Apps

Shure Launches the new MV7+ Microphone

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Shure has launched its new hybrid XLR/USB dynamic microphone with the launch of the MV7+ Podcast Microphone. The MV7+ is aimed at those seeking to capture broadcast-quality audio in even the most challenging of spaces. With Shure’s cutting-edge Voice Isolation Technology, the focus lies on the user’s voice, avoiding annoying background noises and ensuring outstanding audio for every recording and streaming session.

It also includes a new, innovative onboard Digital Signal Processing (DSP) engine which powers a suite of advanced features, like an improved Auto Level Mode, a Digital Popper Stopper for enhanced plosive control, Real-time Denoiser, and Adjustable Reverb. Thanks to its unique full-touch LED live meter display and numerous customization options, the MV7+ sets a new standard in sound quality and personalization while diving into a vibrant world of colour.

To elevate the user experience to the next level, the MV7+ podcast microphone integrates with the free, new MOTIV Mix Desktop app, Shure’s latest MOTIV software interface. MOTIV Mix provides users with the ability to configure all aspects of the MV7+. The software also offers multi-track recording and routing to support users with greater control of their live streaming and recordings. With MV7+ and MOTIV Mix, it’s easier than ever to sound authentic, freeing up creators to let their imagination shine brightly.

“Modern content creators and streamers are constantly searching for new ways to customize their set-up and sound to set themselves above the pack,” said Sean Sullivan, Associate Director of Global Product Management at Shure. “The MV7+ is our answer to this challenge. It builds off the legacy of the MV7 and delivers broadcast-quality audio in any setting while empowering creators with intuitive customization and control. Through our latest DSP innovations and the new MOTIV Mix desktop app integration, the MV7+ is set to redefine excellence in audio recording for every session.”

New Features and Benefits:

  1. Multi-Color LED Touch Panel: Elevate the audio experience with a customizable LED touch panel. Choose from over 16.8 million colours to visualize your sound levels or engage an ambient pulse effect. A simple tap anywhere on the LED Panel Live Meter instantly mutes the microphone, ensuring privacy and control.
  2. Real-time Denoiser: Leverage the advanced DSP technology of the MV7+ to eliminate background noise. It works in harmony with the microphone’s Voice Isolation to deliver pristine sound, even in less-than-ideal recording environments.
  3. Digital Popper Stopper: Remove harsh plosive sounds to avoid acoustic distractions and a cumbersome physical pop filter on camera.
  4. Improved Auto Level Mode: Intelligent audio adjustment adapts the microphone gain based on the distance, volume, and room dynamics, providing perfectly balanced sound automatically.
  5. Onboard Reverb: Choose from three types of onboard reverb settings–Plate, Hall, Studio—and set intensity levels to add desired depth and richness to recordings.
  6. Hybrid XLR and USB-C outputs: The MV7+ integrates into any setup as it provides hybrid USB-C and XLR output and connects seamlessly with your laptop or phone (iOS and Android), offering unparalleled flexibility and ease of use.

Shure has also announced the new MOTIV Mix software for the MV7+ microphone. This platform allows users to customize the LED panel, access up to five multi-track recording and routing channels, and fine-tune settings like sound signature, gain, and more. A Beta version of the new software will be available to experience with the MV7+ at launch, helping users reduce the number of apps needed to streamline their workflows. Key features of MOTIV Mix include:

  • Multi-channel Mixer: Control multiple channels of audio to record, monitor or use your mixed audio for your live stream.
  • Soundcheck: Check your mic’s gain setting and optimize it with the help of Soundcheck.
  • A redefined Monitor Mix Slider: Mix mic output and system audio playback levels individually.
  • Full access: to advanced DSP features of your MV7+ Podcast Microphone.

MOTIV Mix will soon be compatible with other legacy MOTIV products such as the MV7 and the MVX2U, serving as a building block for forthcoming software innovations and premium features. The MV7+ Podcast Microphone comes in two colours (black and white). The black MV7+ is available now at Shure’s official partners and Amazon. This summer, the white version will be available along with a special bundle, the MV7+ Podcast kit, that includes the microphone in black and a Gator mic stand. Each purchase comes with a 3m USB-C to USB-C cable, a printed quick start guide, and a MOTIV MIX Art Card with download instructions. Other accessories such as a 15-inch USB-C to lightning cable and a replacement foam windscreen are available for purchase individually.

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