updated 12:45 am EST, Thu January 3, 2008
Hitachi 500GB laptop drive
Hitachi today unveiled two new large-capacity laptop drives, offering 400GB and 500GB sizes in a 2.5-inch format. The new drives will be slightly larger than a conventional laptop hard disk, rated at 12.5mm thickness versus the typical 9.5mm. The drives make use of a two-platter setup, and use two heads to read data from both platters. Hitachi adapted their Rotational Vibration Safeguard technology from its 3.5-inch drives to the 5K500 series, allowing the drives to anticipate bumps and compensate accordingly. The drives will be available in February, starting at $350 for the 400GB version, with the 500GB model sitting at $400.
The 5K500 series drives feature an optional Bulk Data Encryption method, allowing the drives to directly encode data rather than relying on after-the-fact encryption. The drives are also available in an enhanced-availability version that the company calls the E5K500 series, which are ideal for around-the-clock access environments such as retail and enterprise.
Asus will be the first company to take advantage of the high-capacity drives, offering a single-drive configuration in its M50 multimedia notebook computer. The M70, however, will be the first laptop to offer 1TB of drive space, coming in a dual-drive configuration with two of Hitachi's 500GB disks. The notebooks offer a full-size ergonomic keyboard and separate numeric pad, while the dual-mode touch pad allows users to control multimedia content right from the hardware.
Hitachi says that this is just a glimpse of what it wishes to accomplish, as it hopes to offer a 7200RPM version of the drives with little to no increase in power requirements. The company hopes that these drives will redefine desktop computing, allowing companies to make smaller machines without having to sacrifice hard drive space.