updated 10:30 am EDT, Tue April 23, 2013
Thinner drives use single edge connector to save space
Building on from its 7mm release last year, Western Digital has started shipping its first hard drives and solid state hybrid drives (SSHD) that measure 5mm (0.2-inches) thick. The new WD Blue and WD Black 2.5-inch drives are made to allow for even thinner notebook and ultrabook designs, while still providing a sizable amount of storage for the end user.
Compared to standard 9.5mm-thick drives, the new slimmer design is said to reduce weight by up to 36-percent, along with reduced noise, and non-operation shock protection rated at 400G and 1000G for the Blue and Black respectively. In order to accomplish the thin design, WD had to use a new edge connector that combines the data connection with the power feed. Despite its small size, WD still had enough room to use dual stage actuators, which are used to improve the accuracy of writing and reading data tracks.
The WD Blue 5mm is on sale at $89 for a 500GB drive, but only to OEMs and industrial distributors at present. Versions of the WD Black 5mm SSHD are shipping to PC manufacturers, though capacities and costs are not revealed.