Hitachi unveils 2.5-in. 320GB notebook hard drive

Travelstar 7K320 also targets gaming devices, blade servers, video surveillance systems

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies today is set to unveil a 320GB mobile computer hard disk drive that offers 60% more capacity and requires some 25% less power than its year-old predecessor.

The new 2.5-in. Travelstar 7K320, which spins at speeds of up to 7,200 rpm, is available in models with capacities ranging from 80GB to 320GB. The device can run applications 12% faster than the Travelstar 7200 model it is replacing, said Larry Sweezey, director of consumer and commercial hard disk drives at the San Jose-based subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd.

The new mobile hard drive costs $220 and will ship before the end of the month, the company said. Sweezey declined to identify manufacturers who plan to embed the new drive into their systems, though he said those products should debut by early in the third quarter.

The fourth-generation Hitachi device includes a serial ATA interface with 3Gbit/sec. data transfer speeds, and offers a bulk data encryption security option. The Travelstar 7K320 can store up to 80 hours of high-definition video, 320 hours of standard video, 114 movies and 80,000 four-minute MP3 songs.

Sweezey said the mobile hard drive product is targeted at notebook PCs, gaming devices, compact desktop systems, small video devices, blade servers and video surveillance systems.

"Desktops went to 7,200 rpm a long time ago on 3.5-in. [drives], but there's always been a big gap between what a desktop hard drive and 2.5-in. laptop drive can offer around spin speed," said Sweezey. "We believe there are a lot of folks hungry for performance for systems running very heavy computing and video files."

John Rydning, an analyst at Framingham, Mass.-based IDC, said the performance of Hitachi's new mobile storage device is on par with desktop hard drives and should help ease user concerns about laptop drives.

"If there is an individual looking at drives on a shelf that is thinking they're going to lose performance when they look at a laptop PC as opposed to a desktop PC, this certainly takes that away," said Rydning.  He expects that other hard drive manufactuers will eventually join Hitachi and Fujitsu Ltd. in producing  2.5-in. 320GB, 7200 rpm drives.

However, Rydning noted that security concerns may prompt corporate hard drive buyers to pass on larger capacity 2.5-in. notebook drives. "Most IT managers really don't want their employees to have that kind of storage cpacity on their portable PCs," he added.

The fourth-generation Hitachi device includes a serial ATA interface with 3Gbit/sec. data transfer speeds, and offers a bulk data encryption security option.
The new 2.5-in. Travelstar 7K320

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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