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Hitachi unveils 'super-pendicular drive'

Posted: 30 May 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Hitachi GST HD? Hitachi 2.5-inch hard drive? Hitachi hard drive?

Hitachi's Dirk Thomas
Thomas: In the next couple of decades, we expect to achieve areal densities in excess of 1Tbit/inch2 with the use of patterned media and thermally-assisted recording.

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies announced that it has started shipping what it touts as the most reliable and technically-advanced 2.5-inch hard drive in the industry.

Dubbed by the company as the Super-pendicular Drive for its "best-of-breed reliability, performance and leadership specifications," the new 160Gbyte Travelstar 5K160 is a 2.5-inch hard drive targeted at notebooks and mobile computing applications.

"This 'drive of steel' exhibits industry-leading drive-level reliability attributes, based on Hitachi's internal testing," said Dirk Thomas, President, Greater China for Hitachi. "These attributes include lowest power consumption, best-of-breed 5400rpm application performance based on PCMark benchmark, which is 18 percent better than comparable perpendicular magnetic recording drives, and excellent shock robustness."

Hard drive reliability
According to Hitachi, the top three contributors to a hard drive's reliability are technologies that strongly resist media corrosion, head instability and head/disk interference. Thomas said that they were able to address these factors by implementing Hitachi's alloy combination and layer-deposition process that produced PMR media with best-of-breed properties for corrosion resistance; by using a new PMR write head that greatly improved soft error rate; and by using the read-head alloy iridium-manganese-chromium (IrMnCr), which showed more than a 2x improvement in field reliability among available hard drives using the new IrMnCr read sensor.

The IrMnCr alloy combination replaces the previous platinum-manganese alloy of prior read-head generations. Hitachi added chromium to the combination to bring additional corrosion-resistant properties to the read sensor.

Other hard-drive markets
Thomas said that growth markets for hard drives are shifting from traditional PCs to other applications. "These markets include consumer electronic applications like DVRs or PVRs, and home media centers or servers. Nearline storage and video surveillance are other rapid growth areas where Deskstar drives are being used," he said.

According to TrendFOCUS, video-based consumer electronic devices requiring hard drives will grow 80 percent in 2006. The industry analyst firm also said that digital video will be the primary catalyst for the growth of hard-disk-based storage in consumer electronics, with the predominant shift occurring this year.

Thomas shared that Hitachi is prepared to take on the increased demand for hard drives in digital video applications by expanding their 3.5-inch ATA/SATA, 2.5-inch ATA/SATA, 1.8-inch and 1-inch hard drive product lines.

"In the next couple of decades, we expect to achieve areal densities in excess of 1Tbit/inch2 with the use of patterned media and thermally-assisted recording, which are extensions of perpendicular recording," said Thomas. "This areal density would enable multiple terabytes of data to be stored on a 2.5-inch and 1.8-inch hard drives or more than 100Gbytes on 1-inch drives, such as Hitachi's Microdrive."

Thomas added that this will enable end-users to potentially store entire HDTV video libraries in a compact STB, and thousands of hours of music and multiple movies on a mobile phone. "We expect to continue making great strides in power consumption, performance, A/V optimization, shock and cost-per-megabyte," he said.

The 160Gbyte Travelstar 5K160 will be available at an MSRP of $269, while a Travelstar 5K160 notebook upgrade kit will be priced at $299.

"We expect an extremely fast volume ramp for the Travelstar 5K160potentially the fastest of any Hitachi hard-drive product, which is slated for the third quarter of this year," said Thomas.

- Margarette Teodosio
Electronic Engineering Times - Asia

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