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Western Digital intros its first perpendicular hard drive

Lake Forest (CA) - Western Digital (WD) has caught up with other hard drive manufacturers such as Seagate, Toshiba and Hitachi and is offering its first hard drive that uses perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR). The new 2.5" Scorpio drive stores up to 160 GB. Competitor Toshiba announced a reduced-size 1.8" PMR drive.

Hard drives that make use of perpendicular recording technology have been available for some time now and are currently penetrating the 1.8", 2.5" and 3.5" segments (for an overview of announced drives and details about PMR see our slide show.) But PMR so far has only been available to hard drive manufacturers that can develop their own platters, which includes Seagate, Hitachi GST and Toshiba, for example.

Manufacturers without own platter development capacities, such as Western Digital, typically rely on third party suppliers - for example Showa Denko - and are now just catching up with PMR, which promises more hard drive performance and substantially higher storage capacities.

WD's 160 GB 2.5" Scorpio hard drive for notebooks and portable devices

The new 2.5" WD Scorpio offers 160 GB of storage space and matches Seagate's latest Momentus drive, but stays below Toshiba's 200 GB 2.5" drive. WD currently offers 2.5" hard drive capacities ranging from 40 GB to 160 GB.

WD's new 5400 rpm PMR drive apparently will be cheaper than competitive products. WD said that the drive will be available for about $180; Seagate's 160 GB 2.5" drive currently sells for around $200, according to various seller listings on Froogle. indicates that Hitachi's 160 GB Travelstar drive is available for an average price of $185.

In the meantime, Toshiba has announced its second-generation 1.8" hard drive. The new 4200 rpm drives hold 40 GB and 80 Gb and are about 10% "shorter" then the first PMR drive generation, the manufacturer said.

Related articles:
Toshiba ships first harddrive with perpendicular recording tech
Seagate announces 160 GB perpendicular notebook hard drive
Fujitsu introduces 2.5" perpendicular hard drive
Seagate introduces three-quarter terabyte Barracuda hard drive
Hitachi sees 5 TByte harddrives and 60 GByte microdrives

slide show: Perpendicular hard drives and PMR technology