RealTime IT News

Big Storage For Hitachi's Small Drives

At a time when hard disk drives (HDD) are taking a more crucial role in portable consumer devices, Hitachi has created the world's smallest hard disk drives.

Hitachi's new one-inch Microdrive 3K8 and 1.8-inch Travelstar C4K60, are nicknamed Mikey and Slim, respectively.

Microdrive 3K8 Mikey
Source: Hitachi

Never mind the child-like monikers: The drives pack the storage wallop of larger drives to help boost the capacity of smartphones, MP3 players and handheld computers.

Microdrive 3K8 will be available with 6 gigabytes (GB) and 8GB of storage capacity despite being 20 percent smaller and consuming 40 percent less power than its predecessor.

Five millimeters thick, Travelstar C4K60 Slim is 30 percent thinner than its predecessor. Yet Slim is fat on storage capacity for its size, offering a capacity of 30GB and 60GB of storage on the one- and two-disk models, respectively.

Mikey and Slim feature a ZIF connector to ease integration in consumer electronic devices. Both drives are also using femto slider technology for improved shock performance and power consumption.

On the shock subject, Mikey has some interesting perks.

To protect the drive against data loss from the inevitable dropped gadget, Hitachi has added new extra sensory protection technology to the Microdrive.

Travelstar C4K60 Slim
Source: Hitachi

ESP immediately moves the read-write head safely away from the surface of the disk when it detects a fall. This avoids head/disk contact, which can cause data loss. ESP is activated during a drop of as little as four inches.

The Microdrive is also the first hard drive to offer the CE-ATA interface, which is designed to support the relationship between small-form-factor hard drives and the handheld consumer electronic devices they are built into.

Hitachi, Intel, Marvell, Nokia, Seagate and Toshiba are promoting CE-ATA, whose specs include low pin count, low voltage and power efficiency.

The Microdrive 3K8 is now in limited shipping, with volume shipment planned for October. Hitachi's ESP technology and support for the CE-ATA interface will be available in December.

Travelstar C4K60 will begin volume shipment of the 30GB version at the end of the month, with the two-disk, 60GB model shipping in the first quarter of 2006. Hitachi also plans CE-ATA support on its 1.8-inch Travelstar line.

Pricing for the drives was not immediately available.

Given trends like the current iPod explosion and the increasing acceptance of smartphones, Hitachi expects the drives will sell well.