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Toshiba new external drive: How small can it go?

The drive can be used with both Macs and PCs

Toshiba today released its smallest external hard drive, which trumps Western Digital's smallest drive released earlier this month.

Toshiba's new Canvio Slim hard drive

Like WD's new My Passport Edge, Toshiba's Canvio Slim is a single-platter, 5400RPM, 500GB drive. It is .35 inches thick, 4.21 inches long and 2.95 inches wide. WD's My Passport Edge, released at the beginning of the month, is a half-inch thick, 4.34 inches long and 3.2 inches wide.

Toshiba's predecessor to the Canvio Slim, the Canvio, was .53 inches thick.

Like WD's new drive, the Canvio Slim supports USB 3.0 (5Gbps) specification, an upgrade from the USB 2.0 (480Mbps) I/O interface. Also like WD's new drive, the Toshiba Canvio lacks the new Thunderbolt (10Gbps) interface.

As with any USB 3.0 enabled drive, the Canvio Slim is backward compatible for use with USB 2.0 devices.

The drive comes with an NTFS driver for use with Mac computers, but the drive also allows users to store and access files from PCs and Macs without reformatting.

Toshiba's new Canvio Slim hard drive

The Canvio Slim also comes equipped with software that makes back up easy. The included NTI Backup Now EZTM software provides a system scan that recommends the best type of coverage. Users can choose between backing up files to the cloud, backing up files and folders to the Canvio Slim portable hard drive, backing up anything saved on the computer, or all three for the most comprehensive coverage.

The Canvio Slim has a suggested retail price of $114 and comes with a three-year limited warranty.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed. His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

See more by Lucas Mearian on Computerworld.com.

Read more about data storage in Computerworld's Data Storage Topic Center.

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