Holiday Buyer's Guide 2006, Part 7: More Mobile Stuff

Samsung M80 PMR Hard Disk Drive

The Christmas holiday season is punctuated with eggnog, mistletoe and fancy seasonal ornamentation, and the accompanying warmth of friends, family and a cozy fireplace. Turn up the heat this year with an up-turned serial ATA (SATA) notebook drive for your special mobility-loving friend or loved one.

Samsung's M80 2.5" hard disk drive turns heads and perspectives on the way data is stored and retrieved. At these dimensions, the drive clearly targets the mobile computing marketspace, introducing to it the concepts of Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR) and improved shock tolerance ratings, to resist loss of data and incidental damage due to clumsy handling.

Traditionally, data is stored on magnetic platters in a longitudinal fashion - we can literally envision each slice laid out on-disk as it would be read, each bit end-to-end. With PMR-based media this perspective changes to placing bits perpendicular to the drive platter, which reduces the chance of data corruption and increases storage volume within standard drive dimensions. In addition, Samsung throws in their specially-designed free fall sensors, which provide cutting-edge shock resistance against sudden acceleration (or the intensity of external shock propagating to sensitive instrumentation). This increases the tolerance level to 700G - previously unattained with standard 2.5" drives. Unlike in competing products, the sensors are incorporated into the drive instead of the motherboard, to improve response time.

Samsung's M80 also relies on Fluid Dynamic Bearings (FDBs) for smooth-running operation and ideal low acoustic noise output. Plus, Samsung throws in their very own Hybrid Latch System, a latching mechanism designed to eliminate run-time rattling and reduce the death knells (characterized by clicking or what sounds like coconuts on cobblestone). When combined with the free-fall sensors and FDBs, the end result is a blazing fast notebook drive that can withstand severe punishment.

Look for their SATA line, which has the following capacities and model numbers: 80 GB (HM080HC), 120 GB (HM120IC) and 160 GB (HM160JC). Samsung's M80 PATA line includes the 80 (HM080HC), 120 (HM120IC) and 160 (HM160JC) both of which run at 5,400 RPM and have 8 MB on-board caches.

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