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Seagate's 7,200rpm, 100GB drive available in 2.5-inch platter

Posted: 05 May 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:seagate technology? hard disk drive? momentus?

By pouring nearly 10 percent of its annual revenue into research and development, storage company Seagate Technology has been able to continue building hard disk drives that reach capacities beyond its competitors' products.

The company recently added to its Momentus family of hard disk drive products a 7,200rpm, 100GB drive, the highest capacity available for notebooks. And it also ramped up the areal densities on its 5,400rpm and 4,200rpm drives to 120GB from 100GB.

Although the latest Momentus notebook drive products add value to Seagate's portfolio, the computer industry is awaiting products based on perpendicular recording technology. Perpendicular recording arranges the magnetic bits vertically on end on the surface of the disk, which allows the head to record and read more information per unit area. Hard disk drives manufactured today use longitudinal recording that arranges the bits horizontally on the disk, which requires more surface area to store information.

Later this year, Seagate expects to announce products using perpendicular recording technology, which will exponentially increase recording densities. But until then, it continues to augment its Momentus disk drive line with several useful features.

With the latest product announcements, Seagate now offers a complete line of 2.5-inch notebook drives covering all spin speeds, capacity points and interfaces.

Niche and feature rich

The 7200.1 is the industry's first 7,200rpm notebook drive with a 100GB capacity and serial ATA interface.

"The highest capacity you can get for a 7,200rpm notebook drive is 60GB, so that's a significant increase in capacity," said Mark Walker, product marketing manager for Seagate.

The drive is being targeted at the most popular mobile workstations, the super high-performance notebook computers.

"It's a good fit there because 7,200 is the fastest spin speed available today that will fit into a notebook computer," Walker said. "Those users that want that true desktop performance experience on a notebook, Momentus 7,200 is the way to go."

The 7,200rpm hard disk drives from other manufacturers have been used in niche markets. Seagate hasn't introduced a 7,200 notebook drive until now because the industry is still transitioning to 5,400rpm from 4,200rpm as the mainstream spin speed for notebook computers. "We expect that the adoption of 7,200 will begin to increase more rapidly," Walker said.

And since it's a high-capacity drive that offers lower power and a smaller package than 3.5-inch drives, it is suitable for non-mission critical blade servers and small form-factor PCs, two niche markets.

"The majority of volumes will be mobile workstation applications," he said.

Seagate is also incorporating the serial ATA interface with the 7200.1 Momentus 2.5-inch notebook drive. The industry standard right now has been ultra ATA/100, which transfers data between the drive and host at up to 100MBps. Serial ATA enables a wider pipe for that data to travel back and forth to the host, moving at 1.5Gbps or 150MBps.

"That's about a 50 percent increase in maximum throughput that you can have," Walker said. "As drive technology and throughputs increase, it's becoming increasingly important."

Seagate is also the first to offer native command queuing (NCQ) on a 7,200rpm drive. NCQ streamlines data delivery and gathering by sorting and queuing commands. With NCQ the disk drive doesn't work as hard, enables faster system level performance, Walker said.

"Imagine I'm on the 50th floor of a skyscraper and get into an elevator and say I need to get to the first floor. It starts going down and another passenger gets on at the 40th floor. The passenger wants to go to the 10th floor. If the elevator is the disk drive and it doesn't have NCQ, what it's going to do is because I entered my command first, it's going to go to the first floor. And then after that, it will go to the 10th floor."

It also offers 20 percent faster XP start-up and application loading than 5,400rpm drives.

Moving to mainstream

The 120GB, 2.5-inch drive at 5,400rpm is also equipped with the serial ATA interface and NCQ. The 5400.2 drive is already a popular product from Seagate but its capacity only went up to 100GB until now.

"The industry is transitioning to the 5,400 mainstream spin speed for notebooks. That is happening because 5,400rpm provides the best combination of performance and power consumption," Walker said.

He explained that the end-user gets all the advantages of the faster spin speed, but the impact on the battery life is so minimal that they don't even notice it. For Seagate, it was just a matter of tweaking the different components inside the drive, like the spindle motor designed to consume less power, while at the same time controlling how long the drive spends in each of the power modes.

"If you're running your laptop computer off your battery, the drive will go into a power save standby mode. And it's by controlling how long the drive spins in each those power modes that enables us to get the power down to a lower level of what you would expect of a 4,200 drive," Walker said.

Last, but not least

Momentus 4200.2 is ideal for entry solutions and external storage applications. There are users that want the mobility of a laptop, but they are willing to trade performance for a lower cost system. That's where Momentus 4200.2 is a good fit, Walker said.

The 4200 series offers a wide range of capacity points and high shock tolerance, but most importantly, it is power-compliant with the USB port, enabling the external drive to spin and operate without a separate power supply.

Pricing and availability

The Momentus 4,200rpm, 120GB drive with a parallel ATA (PATA) interface costs $265. The 120GB Momentus 5400.2 PATA and serial ATA are priced at $289 and $308, respectively. And the 100GB Momentus 7200.1 PATA and serial ATA are priced at $368 and $380, respectively. The products will be shipping in volume in May.

The Momentus drives come with a five-year warranty when purchased through Seagate's distributors, including ASI, Bell Microproducts and Cynnex, Walker said. Additional information on the Momentus 5400.2 and the Momentus 7200.1 can be found at the company's website.

- Ismini Scouras

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