Hitachi thinks small with new 8 GByte microdrive

Berlin (Germany) - Hitachi today introduced a new generation of its smallest form factor harddrives. Mikey, the firm's 1" microdrive is now available in capacities of up to 8 GByte and claims to be the first harddrive to offer a CE-ATA interface, which is widely promoted to spread among consumer electronics devices. There are also new 30 and 60 GByte slim versions of Hitachi's 1.8" Travelstar series.

Storage capacity of small harddrives is beginning to catch up with the requirements of emerging portable consumer electronics that will demand more and more space for digital audio, video and image content. Hitachi's storage products division showcases its latest generation of miniaturized harddrives at the currently IFA tradeshow in Berlin, Germany. Especially noteworthy is the Mikey 3K8 drive with capacities of 6 and 8 GByte.

According to the manufacturer, the new Mikey is 20 percent smaller and consumes 40 percent less power than its predecessor. The 1" device, available in a CFII form factor, achieves a storage density of 105 Gbit per square inch and comes with PATA, CE-ATA, or ATA on MMC interfaces, offers a ZIF connector and measures about 5 mm in height and 13 grams in weight. Disc rotation speed is 3600 rpm, average latency is rated at 8.33 ms. According to Hitachi, the microdrive offers the industry's highest show resistance at 2000 Gs.

The 8 GByte 3K8 is shipping in limited quantities now, with volume shipments expected to begin in October. Other manufacturers are expected to follow with similar announcements. For example, Seagate told us earlier this year that it will launch its 1" photo harddrive in a CFII form factor with 4 and 8 GByte during the third quarter of this year. The same goes for the manufacturer's ST1 1" harddrive, which has been available in limited quantities since June.

Hitachi also demos a new version of its 1.8" Travelstar series. The C4K60 Slim sports a 30-percent thinner profile than its predecessor, checking in with a thickness of 5 mm for the 30 GByte one-disk model. Like Mikey the Travelstar comes with a ZIF connector for consumer electronics devices. The 4200 rpm drives will be available as a 30 GByte model later this month and as a 60 GByte version in Q1 of 2006, according to Hitachi.