Aug 16, 2005

Extreme Field Test: Seagate Drives Withstand Punishing Conditions on Everest

SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif. - It's one thing for Seagate's hard drives to perform well in the controlled confines of a lab or a customer's factory; it's a different story when those drives must withstand some of the most punishing and unpredictable field conditions imaginable - the slopes of Mt. Everest.

Recently, two of Seagate's external hard drives - the 100 GB Portable External Hard Drive and the 5 GB Pocket Hard Drive - did just that, accompanying a team of climbers that attempted to summit the world's highest peak. The team's guide, Jim Williams, brought the hard drives with him as far as the 17,500-foot base camp; Seagate's drives are specified to work at 10,000 feet.

"The drives performed very well," Williams said last week, back at his home in Jackson, Wyoming. "We used them to back-up pictures and e-mail. It was a relief that the drives operated so well, because we've had problems in the past with how our laptops performed at those altitudes."

After spending several days adjusting to the altitude, the team left all non-essential gear, including the Seagate drives, behind at base camp, and continued up the mountain's southern slope. But bad weather kept the expedition grounded for most of May.

"Wind was the biggest obstacle," said Williams, 50, who had reached the summit once before in 2000. "We had very strong winds, between 75 to 100-plus miles per hour some nights, which made a summit attempt too risky. You have to make decisions based on whether you have a reasonable shot of reaching the summit safely."

At 21,000 feet, Williams didn't like his chances and decided to stay put. He was sick and didn't want to endanger the rest of his team by joining in a summit push. "I wasn't strong enough to continue and it didn't make sense to put myself and the others in harm's way," he said.

In June, two of Williams' expedition members finally reached the mountain's peak-more than 29,000 feet. One of the climbers, Urszula Tokarska, made history with the summit: she became the first Canadian woman to reach the highest peaks on each of the seven continents.

As for Seagate's hard drives, the Everest experience serves as proof that the company's processes for designing and testing rugged drives that operate well beyond customers' quality and reliability specs are paying off.

"Our design teams can be really proud of the drives' performance - at nearly twice the altitude they've been specified for," said Rob Pait, director of Global Consumer Electronics Product Marketing. "This is a great example of the rigorous engineering that goes into our products. We can tell the world that when it comes to storing your data, Seagate is a great choice on Everest or at home."

About the Seagate products used on this expedition
Available in 2.5 GB and 5 GB capacities, Seagate Pocket Hard Drives fit easily in a shirt pocket, yet can safely store large business files, music, photos, videos and more. The Pocket Hard Drive comes with a built-in, retractable USB cable. Its sleek round shell absorbs shock, providing added protection from damage due to handling.

Available in 40 GB, 100 GB and 120 GB capacities, Seagate's Portable Hard Drives weigh less than a pound and can easily store and transport very large files. The drives are extremely durable, with a robust, rugged design that resists scuffs and scrapes. To learn more about these and other Seagate retail hard drives, please visit:

About Seagate
Seagate is the worldwide leader in the design, manufacturing and marketing of hard disc drives, providing products for a wide-range of Enterprise, Desktop, Mobile Computing, and Consumer Electronics applications. Seagate's business model leverages technology leadership and world-class manufacturing to deliver industry-leading innovation and quality to its global customers, and to be the low cost producer in all markets in which it participates. The company is committed to providing award-winning products, customer support and reliability to meet the world's growing demand for information storage. Seagate can be found around the globe and at

Seagate, Seagate Technology and the Wave logo are U.S. registered trademarks of Seagate Technology LLC. One gigabyte, or GB, equals one billion bytes when referring to hard drive capacity. Accessible capacity may vary depending on operating environment and formatting.