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04:57 PM

Toshiba Expands HDD Lineup For Mini-Notebooks

The Serial ATA products also are available with Toshiba's free-fall sensor option that parks the disk head before impact when a notebook is dropped.

Toshiba on Thursday introduced a 250-GB, 1.8-inch hard disk drive for manufacturers building ultraportable notebooks and consumer electronics.

The Serial ATA HDD is the largest capacity drive in the industry within the 1.8-inch form factor, according to Toshiba. Such drives are built for use in portable media players, camcorders, and smaller lightweight notebooks that fall into the ultraportable category.

In addition, Toshiba unveiled a 120-GB and a 160-GB SATA drive in the same 1.8-inch MKxx29GSG series. All three drives have a disk speed of 5,400 revolutions per minute and a data transfer rate of 3 Gbps. The products also are available with Toshiba's free-fall sensor option that parks the disk head before impact when a notebook is dropped.

The latest releases follow by a couple of weeks Toshiba's introduction of a 240-GB and a 120-GB Parallel ATA drive. Both products have a disk speed of 4,200 rpm and are 1.8 inches in size.

The latest drives have an areal density of 378.8 Gb-per-square-inch and have an energy consumption efficiency of 0.0016 watts-per-GB. The use of the SATA 3.0-Gbps interface, as well as the higher disk speed, makes the drives an option for any mobile PC, Toshiba said. The vast majority of mobile HDD shipments in the second quarter of this year were SATA.

Toshiba claims to have shipped more than 60 million 1.8-inch HDDs since their introduction in 2000. The company's new models are the 31st generation.

"Combining a quarter terabyte of storage with the data transfer capabilities essential to the PC environment marks a critical step in driving 1.8-inch HDD adoption into more PC configurations," Maciek Brzeski, VP of marketing for Toshiba's Storage Device Division, said in a statement. "The MKxx29GSG line will accelerate growth in mobile, thin-and-light and sub-notebook categories as a result of enhanced functionality."

Toshiba is scheduled to being volume shipments of the latest HDDs in December.

One target for the small hard drives is the emerging mini-notebook market. Also called "netbooks," the PCs are defined as sub-$500 PCs that have screen sizes of 10 inches or less and run a full operating system, such as Windows XP or Linux.

The market for mini-notebooks is on track to reach shipments of 5.2 million units worldwide this year and 8 million units next year, according to market researcher Gartner. Manufacturers could ship as many as 50 million devices in 2012. Computer makers selling netbooks include Acer, Asustek, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Micro-Star International, and Samsung.

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