Hitachi Global Storage Technologies designed its latest Travelstar hard disk drive for OEMs and systems integrators that want to build trim, rugged servers and mobile devices.
Hitachi Global Storage Technologies announced a new
Travelstar 2.5-inch drive that it claimed was the thinnest hard drive in the
industry on Dec. 15.
The new Hitachi Travelstar Z5k500 drive family hits the "sweet
spot" for the mobile 2.5-inch market, Hitachi
said. With a thickness of a mere 7mm, the Travelstar Z5K500 drive has a spin
speed of 5,400 rpm.
"Ultra thin and light devices are, without argument,
a growing trend," said Brenda Collins, vice president of product marketing
at Hitachi GST.
these drives are designed to directly replace standard 2.5-inch 9.5mm drives
that are currently used in "everything from external drives, laptops,
netbooks and blade servers." The drives can be an alternative to solid-state
drives as well as 1.8-inch 9.5mm HDDs, said Hitachi.
expects the drive's low price will appeal to OEMs and system integrators. The
broad Hitachi GST portfolio will support
building thinner devices or devices with extra battery capacity, increased
protection against shock and improved internal airflow, the company said.
Hitachi is "leading the shift" from the thicker
9mm drives to the thinner 7mm drives "across a broad range of market
segments," said Collins.
The new drives are available in 250GB, 320GB and 500GB
capacities, according to the Hitachi
specification sheet. All the drives feature an 8MB cache and a Serial ATA 3G-bps
interface. The thin drives are very quiet and draw very little power of a mere
1.8 watts when reading and writing and just a little over a half watt when
idle. The drives will be available via "select distributors" this
month, the company said.
Unlike competing drives currently on the market, the Z5K500
drive is also different in that it has only a single platter inside, instead of
two in most drives of this size. Larger drives can have as much as three or
four plates to store the data. The drive's thinness is the direct result of
having just a single platter inside.
Technologies offers its thin 750GB Momentus
drive, but it has two platters. The Momentus Thin, a single-platter drive, has
a faster spin speed by maxes out at 250GB. Rivals Western Digital and Toshiba
do not have any single-platter drives currently on the market.
Considering the number of 1TB and higher options hitting
the market, a 500GB capacity appears a bit conservative by comparison. However,
500GB mobile 2.5-inch drives account for 22 percent of the hard disk drive
market. This market segment is expected to grow 42 percent annually from 2010
to 2013, according to IDC.
Size is not the only factor, as end users need "rugged,
reliable high-capacity hard drives that can withstand the rigors of a portable
environment" and still satisfy their storage needs, Collins said.
The 320GB and 500GB models are also Enhanced Availability
drives, designed and fine-tuned for applications with "always-on"
protection in low transaction environments, such as video surveillance systems
and network routers, Hitachi
These Travelstar drives also feature the Advanced
Format technology. The technology increases the physical sector size on
hard disk drives from old standard 512 bytes to the newer standard 4K. The
increase improves drive capacity to larger sizes and enhances the drive's error
Optional bulk data encryption is available on the drives
for hardware-level data security. When BDE
is enabled, data is first scrambled using a key while it is being written to
the disk. The same key descrambles the data when it's being read, Hitachi
announced the G-Technology G-Drive slim case, which can turn the 500GB
Travelstar Z5K500 into the thinnest external hard drive. The external case is
also powered over USB. It is formatted for
Macs and is Time Machine ready, said Hitachi.
The G-Drive will be available early 2011, Hitachi
said. Pricing was not disclosed. Hitachi
GST is currently preparing for an IPO.