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Seagate 2.5-inch disk drive with 160GB

Posted: 18 Jan 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Ismini Scouras? Seagate? Momentus 5400.3? hard disk drive?

To meet the needs of the notebook market, Seagate is launching its first product based on perpendicular recording technology with its Momentus 5400.3, 2.5-inch hard disk drive that has a top capacity of 160GB.

With more than 60 percent of the notebook market expected to be at 80GB and above this year, Seagate realized that to achieve those densities in a 2.5-inch hard disk drive, it either had to increase the aerial density or the number of platters and heads.

"Now you're talking about a form-factor shift. And notebooks are only getting smaller, not bigger. It made sense to use that we needed to start putting perpendicular on 2.5-inch drives," said Joni Clark, product marketing manager at Seagate.

The Momentus 5400.3 with perpendicular recording technology is available in capacities from 40GB to 160GB, fitting into a broad range of notebooks. It has an aerial density of 132Gb per square inch compared with its longitudinal technology-based drives, which had an aerial density of 91.5Gb per square inch.

As storage density increases, longitudinal media becomes less and less stable due to the smaller bit size and magnetic orientation. Perpendicular recording reorients the bits to overcome this limitation by allowing more bits per unit area with destabilization.

"Aerial density was key for us because we knew we had to get more capacity on these platters. We did not want to add more platters and more heads to achieve the capacity range. There are some fringe benefits such as the ability to reduce the number of components in that drive when your aerial density goes up per gigabit," Clark said.

For instance, on the previous family of Seagate's 80GB notebook drive, there were two platters and three heads. Its latest Momentus 5400.3 has one platter and two heads. Reducing the number of components improves the drive's reliability.

The operational shock tolerance of the 5400.3, 2.5-inch drive is 350Gs compared with 250Gs of its previous drive. And it offers non-operational shock tolerance of approximately 900Gs. In addition to notebooks and tablet PCs, the 5400.3, 2.5-inch drive is being targeted at non-PC applications, such as external storage, printers, copiers, MP3 players and NMC blade servers that require high shock protection.

Perpendicular recording also helps reduce the amount of heat a high-capacity drive would generate, she said. "You also reduce the amount of power consumption that the same capacity would take vs. the two- disk drive. So there are a lot of fringe benefits," she added.

The perpendicular technology-based disk drive being introduced has a parallel ATA (PATA) interface. In the June timeframe, the company will launch the serial ATA (SATA) version of the drive. PATA and SATA are interfaces for desktop-system drives that are used to connect hard drives and other peripherals to a PC. SATA will eventually replace PATA.

"As SATA transitions into the notebook environment, only then will SATA become mainstream," said Clark. This year, SATA will only account for 29 percent of the notebook market, she said, adding that the notebook market hasn't fully transitioned to SATA chipsets.

The company will be migrating all of its product families to perpendicular recording, and expects to complete that transition by the end of this year, Clark said.

The 5400.3, 160GB 2.5-inch hard disk drive costs $325 and comes with a 5-year warranty.

- Ismini Scouras

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