Samsung intros super-slim 1.8" hard drive

San Jose (CA) - Samsung is going more aggressively after the portable consumer electronics market with a new, slim hard drive in a 1.8" form factor.

The new "N" series of drives is available with capacities ranging from 20 to 60 GB and, in plain terms of capacity, won't cause much waves in a market that is starving for more storage space to store digital movies, music and pictures. However, what makes this drive series particularly interesting is its size.

Samsung achieves 60 GB capacity with just one 1.8" platter and therefore can claim to offer the highest storage density in this segment at this time. The limitation to one disk enabled Samsung to reduce the height of the drive to just 5 mm. This compares to about 7.8 mm of Toshiba's 1.8" MK drives, which integrates two platters and a total capacity of 100 GB.

The 1.8" segment is currently dominated by Toshiba, but especially Seagate and Samsung are showing more and more interest to manufacture this form factor, which, for example, is used by Apple in its high video iPod media players. While 60 GB will not bring more storage capacity to iPod-like devices (which are currently available with up to 80 GB), it could enable Apple and its competitors to develop more compact hard drive players that still can store, according to Samsung, 60 135-minute movies, 1500 40 MB music videos or 15,000 (4 MB) MP3 music files.

Samsung claims that the 4200 rpm hard drives are "among the quietest on the market today" and offer an operating noise that is slightly below the sound level that is detectable by the human ear. The power consumption of the drive is rated at 0.3 watts in low-power idle mode.