Thursday Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Hitachi GST) announced its new 2.5-inch, 5,400 RPM Travelstar Z-series family of hard drives. According to the company, the 500 GB version offers the industry's highest capacity for a single-platter, 7-mm thick hard drive. This is accomplished by using the sixth-generation perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) platters which feature a higher areal density (636Gb/inch2) than current hard drives.
With that said, Hitachi's new drive could pave the way to 3.5-inch HDD capacities higher than the current 3 TB limit. This would require using 3.5-inch platters with 636Gb/inch2 areal density, providing around 1 TB each. It's quite possible that within the next twelve months, we could see a 4-platter HDD offering a massive 4 TB capacity whereas a 5-platter HDD could offer 5 TB. For 2.5-inch form factor drives, consumers could see future models with 1 TB or 1.5 TB capacities using two and three platters.
As for Hitachi's new line of Travelstar Z5K500 drives, the series offers 500 GB, 320 GB and 250 GB models. Other feature include the previously reported 5,400 RPM spindle speed, a Serial ATA-300 interface and an 8 MB cache buffer. The drives also feature 1.8 watts read/write power, 0.55 watts low power idle, 5.5-ms average latency and 13-ms average read seek time.
"Travelstar Z-series family features optional bulk data encryption (BDE) for hard drive level data security," the company said, "When employing BDE, data is scrambled using a key as it is being written to the disk and then de-scrambled with the key as it is retrieved. The Travelstar Z5K500 drive family will also be offered in Enhanced Availability (EA) models in capacities of 320 GB and 500 GB, which are designed and fine-tuned for applications needing “always-on” protection in 24x7, low transaction environments including blade servers, network routers, video surveillance and compact RAID systems."
The Travelstar Z5K500 family will be shipping to select distributors this month. The company is also shipping an external version of the 2.5-inch Travelstar Z5K500 500 GB drive in early Q1 2011. Called the G-Technology G-Drive slim, its massive 500 GB provides an ideal storage solution for Apple's Macbook, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.
"Now at 500GB, the drive has enough room to store Up to 125 hours of high-definition video, 500 hours of standard video, 178 movies, 125,000 4-minute songs or 250 games," the company said. "Formatted for Macs with simple plug n’ play connectivity, the G-DRIVE slim is Time Machine ready for added backup protection. It is USB-powered, so there is no need to carry around an extra power cord."