Hitachi Ships Large, High-Performing Notebook Hard Drive

Despite its faster speed, the 2.5-inch drive offers comparable power consumption, heat emission, and acoustics to its 5,400-RPM counterpart.
Hitachi on Thursday started shipping a 200-Gbyte, high-performing notebook hard drive with optional data encryption technology.

The Travelstar 7K200, which runs at 7,200 RPM, has double the capacity and a 22% performance improvement over its predecessor, the company said. For people and businesses looking to secure data, the drive is available with Hitachi's "bulk data encryption" technology.

Dell and its Alienware subsidiary are the first computer makers to offer the new Travelstar on select systems. The drive is available on all Dell XPS notebooks, and on all of Alienware's notebooks. Dell and Alienware are also offering dual-drive configurations on the XPS M2010 and the Aurora m9700, respectively.

Despite its faster speed, the 2.5-inch drive offers comparable power consumption, heat emission, and acoustics to its 5,400-RPM counterpart, Hitachi said. The new drive is Hitachi's "platinum-class" product for notebooks, and sells for $249 at retailers.

The company believes 7,200-RPM 2.5-inch drives will account for 40% of all notebook hard drives shipped in 2010, representing a 25% compounded annual growth rate since 2005. The fast drives account for about 10% of total shipments today.

In comparison to a 5,400-RPM drive, the 7K200 provides 18% to 33% faster application performance. The new drive has a 350 Gs operating shock tolerance for better protection against vibration, bumps, and drops.

The optional data encryption technology scrambles information using a key as it is being written to the disk, and then descrambles information with the key as it is retrieved. In discarding the hard drive, a company or person would not need to erase the hardware, but only delete the key to make the data unreadable.

Data encryption is particularly important to prevent information theft when a notebook is lost or stolen. Hard-drive-based encryption is considered harder to compromise than software-based password security, according to Hitachi.

Last month, Hitachi started shipping to retailers a 1-terabyte hard drive for PCs. The Deskstar 7K1000, which has a retail price of $399, is best suited for gaming and media center PCs, and external storage devices.

Global shipments of hard-disk drives rose 15.5% last year to 434.2 million units, according to iSuppli. This year, shipments are expected to increase by 17%.

In the fourth quarter of last year, Hitachi was the third leading hard-drive maker in terms of shipments with 17.2% of the market, iSuppli said. Seagate was No. 1 with 34.6%, followed by WDC with 20.5%.

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