Seagate announces 160 GB perpendicular notebook hard drive

Scotts Valley (CA) - Seagate today announced its first commercial hard drive that uses perpendicular recording technology. The new 2.5" form factor Momentus 5400.3 drive stores 160 GB on two platters and will be available in volume in February.

Seagate trails Toshiba about five months in introducing the first hard drive using perpendicular recording technology, but is first in substantially expanding the capacity of previous models. While Toshiba introduced a 40 GB 1.8" drive last August - with the promise to add an 80 GB version in the near future - Seagate increased the storage space of its Momentus 5400.3 series from 120 GB to 160 GB.

At 132 Gbit per square inch, the new Momentus offers the tightest areal density in the 2.5" hard drive segment. Seagate was able to fit 80 GB of storage onto one platter, making the notebook hard drive a two-platter/four-head version and leaving enough room for future storage space expansion. Target markets of the device are mainstream notebooks, tablet PCs and printers/copiers.

The manufacturer claims that the drive 5400-rpm drive operates at "4200-rpm power efficiency" to extend battery life. Shock resistance has been increased to 350 Gs during operation and to 900 Gs during non-operation.

Seagate said that it will begin shipping the Momentus 5400.3 with Ultra ATA/100 interface in February for about $380. A version with SATA interface will be added later this year, the company promised.

Perpendicular recording is based on the idea to align data not just horizontally, but vertically on a disc as well. The technology is believed to take the storage industry well beyond of today's storage density limitations and allow the creation of TeraByte drives. The basic concept of the technology is almost 100 years old, but gained momentum only recently.

Seagate said that it will deploy perpendicular recording technology throughout its hard drive families. However, the 1.8" and 2.5" form factors are most likely to receive tech technology first. Seagate representatives told TG Daily that 3.5" desktop drives will likely not see perpendicular recording technology before 2007.