Fujitsu prepares 200 GB, 2.5" notebook HDD, but will it perform better?

Sunnyvale (CA) - This afternoon, Fujitsu Computer Products announced it's furthering its presence in the notebook computer hard drive market, with the rollout of its MHV2200 BT 200 GB drive at a storage conference in San Diego next week. Based on first indications, Fujitsu is beefing up the capacity of its existing 2.5" form factor lineup, whose current top-of-the-line MHV2160BT was given a serious shakedown by Tom's Hardware Guide earlier this month.

But the results of those tests did not bode well for Fujitsu, as the 2160 and its 120 GB counterpart, the 2120, performed near the bottom of the heap in a comparison against Samsung, Seagate, and Toshiba hard drives in the same form factor. In their review, our Patrick Schmid and Achim Roos concluded that Fujitsu's use of three platters - extending the drive height to 12.5 mm, increasing weight and reducing cooling space - as well as Fujitsu's relatively low rotation speed of 4200 RPM compared to Seagate's 5400 RPM, contributed to its low scores. A Fujitsu spokesperson told TG Daily this evening that the company has been investigating the possibility of boosting its rotation speeds, though it will wait to see what the market dictates with regard to whether to boost rotation speeds of future models.

Like its compatriots in the SATA notebook HDD category, the 2200 boasts SATA's optimum host transfer rate of 150 MB/sec. But unlike Seagate, Fujitsu's recording approach assumes a traditional linear methodology, not the perpendicular method Seagate and Toshiba have championed. Using perpendicular, Toshiba and Seagate have been able to boost areal density, so they can avoid resorting to the three-platter approach that Fujitsu has opted for. Fujitsu does not report on its drives' areal densities.

Previous reports told consumers to expect a 200 GB drive in this form factor from Fujitsu as late as early 2007. Now that it's caught up in the areal density race, Fujitsu may have had to boost its areal density more rapidly, just to keep up. No word as yet as to whether the 2120 and other lesser capacity drives in the Fujitsu lineup, may now be phased out sooner than originally planned.

If Fujitsu hopes to gain another edge on its rivals besides capacity, it may have to be in the power consumption department. The company is boasting a "best-in-class" typical power consumption of 1.6 W during normal usage, which is indeed lower than the 2.5 W we've seen. However, the 2200's sleep power consumption is listed at 0.5 W, which will have to compare with the 0.1 W sleep consumption rate of Toshiba's models in this class.