Both new Hitachi drives should be available shortly: The new Travelstar 7K320 is a 2.5” Serial ATA hard drive that spins at a fast 7,200 RPM. While enthusiast users might be looking at Flash SSDs for performance reasons, no Flash SSD will be able to offer more than 128 GB capacity at high performance until the end of the year. And even these are highly unaffordable, costing $2,500 or up. The new 320-GB, high-performance Travelstar should stay well below $300. As opposed to the Travelstar 5K500, which is based on three platters, the 7K320 runs on two platters. Hitachi states an access time of 12 ms, which should translate into an average access time of less than 17 ms. The SATA interface supports 150 MB/s and 300 MB/s speeds, although the latter do not provide noticeable advantage, yet empty your notebook battery a little earlier.
The Ultrastar 15K450 is the new enterprise flagship hard drive product, which had been announced many weeks ago. We’re waiting to receive a sample for review. If you compare the platter size and diameter you’ll notice that the 15,000 RPM hard drive is based on the same physical platter dimensions as a 2.5” notebook hard drives. The reason is the high rotation speed, which causes hard drive makers to reduce diameters in an effort to keep vibration in control. The 15K450 is available at 147 GB, 300 GB and 450 GB and might very well be the last of its kind: Most of the enterprise storage business is expecting a continued transition to 2.5” hard drives.