RealTime IT News

Big Blue Revs Up Hard Disk Drives

With an eye toward improving the performance of notebooks and desktops, IBM Corp. Wednesday rolled out three new hard disk drive products with enhanced capabilities.

Chief among the products is a low-power consumption desktop drive with a 120 gigabyte capacity that may run at 7200 RPMs, called Deskstar 120GXP. It's designed to help desktops better support complex multimedia, including video editing, graphic design and other applications. The 120GXP is double the power of its 60GXP predecessor.

For notebooks, IBM unveiled the Travelstar 60GH and 40GN family, which will be subsequently rolled out in IBM's popular ThinkPad line. At 60GB and 5400 RPM, Big Blue claims the 60H is the industry's highest-performing 2.5-inch notebook drive. The 40GN offers 40, 30, 20 and 10GB capacities at 20GB per disk and spinning at 4200 RPM. The Travelstar line also runs quietly, as it employs the company's Drive Noise Suppression System.

What is the breadth of the 60GH? The bolstered capacity of the new Travelstar drive allows it to store up to 60,000 high resolution photos, 92 musical CDs, 60,000 paperback novels or 15 DVD movies. The 60GH and 40GN are currently shipping to customers.

Lastly, IBM introduced new Travelstar models that feature enhanced availability for non-traditional applications, such as blade servers. These models increase hard disk drive "power-on hours" and are designed for emerging applications such as those found in always on blade server environments, which includes Web hosting and data centers.

Like the Deskstar line, Travelstar is created with low-power consumption in mind, a trend Big Blue kicked into high gear in October. But the real treat is Travelstar's inclusion of what IBM calls pixie-dust, more technically known as antiferromagnetically-coupled (AFC) media, which allows for higher data stability, and ultimately greater density. The enhanced availability models will be available in all 60GH and 40GN capacities and shipping to customers in late Q4.

Pat Collins, president and chief operations officer of RLX Technologies, said the enahanced Travelstar seemed custom-fit for his firm's blade servers.

"The small footprint, reduced energy consumption, high capacity and nonstop performance are all key attributes that give the Travelstar so much more versatility than just as a laptop drive."

IBM competes with smaller, independent storage solution vendors in the hard disk drive space, including Maxtor and Seagate, as well as a few other major players, such as Hitachi, Toshiba and Fujitsu.

While hard disk drives might not be as sexy a sector as, say, servers, competition is healthy. Just last week, Maxtor unveiled hard disk drive kits for the desktop, which it said is "top of the class" in interface speed and capacity (up to 160 GB).