Seagate Innov8—World’s First USB-powered Desktop Hard Drive

One of the biggest hassles of having desktop hard drives is the mess of wiring involved. Not only do you need a cable to connect the drive to a PC, but you also need a power wire.

“Laptop” variants, at 2.5 inch, can be powered by USB bus, while “desktop” models, at 3.5 inch, need a dedicated power cable. When it comes to capacity, however, the desktop variants offer more. Ultimately, you must choose which is more important — more storage or less wires. Today, this changes, as Seagate unveils the Innov8, which it claims to be the world’s first desktop-class external hard drive that does not need to be plugged into a power outlet. The HDD is compatible with the Retina MacBook and other USB-C notebooks.

Seagate Innov8

Desktop hard drives are still widely sold and used by consumers, from storing computer backups to business files to multimedia that needs to be saved but not taking up computer space. Most users that have some sort of external storage that needs to be plugged in taking up outlets in a world where more and more things need to be plugged in (at least for recharging). With advancements in USB 3.1 technology, major manufacturers like Apple are beginning to rely on one connection-type for everything. Through one port they were able to satisfy all of the connectivity for their device. Seagate is looking for the same ability in its desktop hard drive using its Ignition Boost Technology. Seagate likens their new technology to a car battery kick starting an engine. And when combined with USB 3.1, there is no need for an external power supply.

Innov8 is an 8TB hard drive powered by a single USB-C cable, eliminating the need for a dedicated power source or adapter. All the power that the 8TB Innov8 drive needs is delivered along with the data down a single, reversible USB-C cable thanks to a feature that Seagate is calling Ignition Boost.

USB-C not only has the benefit of new technology allowing for features such as powering the device, it is also reversible. This means users can plug it in correctly every time, something many consumers share a frustration with (USB’s are typically plugged in with the USB symbol facing up and the seam facing down).

In fact, this is huge news, as using an 8TB USB drive used to mean being tethered to a wall outlet. Now, you can be more mobile — free to find a comfortable place at a coffee shop or hotel that may not have a free outlet.

External desktop hard drives aren’t known for their design, with the exception of LaCie Porsche Design. Seagate wanted to make a device that was not only functional but nice to look at as well as it will be out on the desk where everyone can plainly see it. Seagate worked with Huge-Design (they also work with GoPro, HP, and Nike) for the look of the Innov8 and it paid off as the Innov8 won this year’s Red Dot Design award.

The caveat, however, is that it requires the reversible USB Type-C and USB 3.1 — things most computers do not have. As time marches on, it will become standard, however. For now, only certain machines, like MacBook, Google Pixel, and others, can truly take advantage.

All Innov8 drives come with Seagate Dashboard software, which offers users either one-click on-demand or customizable, scheduled backups for their devices. Also included is 200GB of Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage and Lyve software compatibility, so users can back up, access and share their data from any device (Android and iOS) or location.

Besides being convenient, fast, and having a ton of capacity, the drive is also beautiful. The aluminum body and its fins make it look elegant, and should help with cooling too. The subtle blue LED looks exquisite.