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Hitachi GST highlights green commitment

Posted: 16 Sep 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Hitachi green initiative? HDD? energy-efficient product?

Yamamoto: The trend toward the 'greening' of IT is likely to continue to be a driving force behind IT product development efforts.

"One of the most important roles Hitachi Global Storage Technologies can aspire to is to help create a sustainable society that preserves the natural resources of our world, and benefits all beings that inhabit this great planet."

So states the company's vision for environmental promotion and protection. Shinichi Yamamoto, senior manager for the new CE CTS, C&C business group at Hitachi GST elaborates on the company's commitment to the environment and narrates how it has lived up to this vision through the development of new technologies.

Why did Hitachi GST decide to go green?
As a company, we are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions through two areas of focus: efficient energy consumption in business operations, and the development and production of energy-efficient products. We have traditionally produced power-friendly HDDs and we are committed to producing more of such drives in the future.

Energy costs have steadily increased over the years, but cost savings on energy isn't the driving reason for Hitachi GST's decision to go green. Rather, we are committed to produce energy-saving products for consumers, and our goal is to minimize the adverse impact of these products on the environment through our green initiatives. One of the initiatives that will make a difference is the reduction of carbon dioxide emission to the environment.

And your new technology brings this to a higher level?
Yes. CoolSpin, Hitachi's latest trademark technology, uses a low-power motor design that requires less power to spin up the drive than most 3.5-inch HDDs. It delivers high levels of power efficiencies and quiet operation specially for digital video applications.

CoolSpin Technology was launched in May in the latest CinemaStar 5K500 and 5K320 HDDs. The low-power profile of these new drives enables the use of more cost-effective power supplies, lowering energy consumption for consumers.The difference is between 33 percent to 40 percent lower idle power consumption as compared to traditional HDDs.

Before CoolSpin, you were already pursuing energy efficiency?
Prior to this, the HiVERT [Hitachi Voltage Efficiency Regulator Technology] and the Advanced Power Management features were already available in the CinemaStar predecessors and other Hitachi HDDs.

HiVERT increases a drive's power efficiency during drive spin up and while the drive is reading or writing. The HiVERT feature reduces power requirements, maximizes battery life and improves heat dissipation during these two modes of operation, when HDDs typically draw the greatest power.

It improves start-up power by up to 32 percent over other drives that do not offer this feature.

What makes Hitachi GST different from other storage vendors?
Hitachi is a leader in the green space.

We are different because we have traditionally produced power-friendly HDDs and we are committed to producing more of such drives in the future.

We do this by developing new technologies. With CoolSpin, for example, developers can build STBs and DVRs that are smaller, run cooler and quieter, and require less power, ultimately leading also to improved product reliability and lifespan.

Can performance be compromised when using energy-efficient HDDs?
Performance will be slightly slower when using Hitachi CoolSpin drives, as compared to a desktop drive.

However, performance will still be acceptable for the usual consumer usage. And the consumers will get plenty of cost savings when they use the Hitachi CoolSpin drives.

Can you tell us about the evolution of the green trend in storage devices?
Hitachi GST has spearheaded HDD development efforts aimed at reduced power consumption during the past six generations of its Deskstar HDD products, and has had industry-leading power specifications in its Travelstar mobile HDDs for many product generations.

These technologies have converged most recently in the Deskstar P7K500 hard drive to provide up to a 40 percent reduction in power consumption over previous generation products. This has resulted in the creation of the industry's most energy-efficient desktop HDD and enabled a positive effect on overall power consumption within the PC system.

What about the industry in general?
The trend toward the "greening" of IT is likely to continue to be a driving force behind IT product development efforts as PC and server OEMs build products to comply with global energy-rating programs. Every component within these systems must also be specified to contribute to reductions in overall power consumption.

How do consumers accept green HDDs?
We don't foresee any major hindrance to consumer acceptance of environmentally friendly HDDs. In terms of reliability and durability, these HDDs are similar to traditional HDDs, if not better, due to technological advancements.

Furthermore, prices for HDDs have typically decreased over the long run in terms of price per gigabyte. Hence, green HDDs are in fact expected to accelerate the proliferation of storage for the digital content we are seeing today.

What other issues do HDD manufacturers face these days?
One issue is the continuing advancement in HDD capacity. We recently achieved advances to recording head technology that will enable continued growth of HDD capacity well into the future. We successfully decreased the size of the existing recording head and made it more sensitive to better read smaller data bits.

The current size of the recording head is roughly 70nm, and the new CPP-GMR [current perpendicular-to-the-plane giant magnetoresistive] recording head we are developing is expected to be in the 30nm to 50nm range.

With this combination and concurrent advancements in media technology, we expect to see a quadrupling of today's highest capacity points in 2011.

This would equate to 4Tbyte desktop HDD, up from today's limit of 1Tbyte, and a 1Tbyte notebook hard drive from today's limit of 320Gbyte.

The abundance of digital video is another major issue. This has been fueling consumer demand for DVRs with more storage capacity and slim, space-saving designs.

Hitachi is offering multiple form factors optimized to address the wide variety of needs in this growing market. We have 3.5-inch drive with capacities up to 500GByte that provides industry-best power utilization and performance, and a more compact 2.5-inch drive that is well-suited for use in sleek STBs and portable digital video devices.

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