Hitachi Hatches Mini Drive For Consumer Devices

Hitachi’s disk drive unit
unveiled a 1.8-inch hard disk drive to satisfy consumers’ needs for
smaller hard drives that have enough juice to power MP3 players and personal digital assistants.

Anh Phan, director of business management at San Jose, Calif.-based Hitachi
Global Storage Technologies, said Hitachi has forsaken notebook-based
connectors for Zero Insertion Force (ZIF) connectors in its new Travelstar
C4K60 series.

While standard notebook connectors typically feature 50 pins with a cable
width of 48 millimeters, the ZIF connectors use a 22-mm flex cable and
40-pin configurations.

They are optimized for consumer electronics devices and help Hitachi, which
competes with Seagate and Toshiba in the hard drive market, reduce the
footprint of its new drive by 10 percent. They also allow easier integration
through a common connector.

While a smaller size and fewer cables are necessary to cut down on the
clumsiness of peripheral hardware, customers don’t want to sacrifice storage
space, which is why the C4K60 has an area density of 99.8 gigabits per
square inch, making it possible for as many as 30 gigabytes of data to be
stored on a single disk.

“This will help us focus better on the emerging consumer electronics
market,” Phan told “For a long time HDD vendors
focused on IT or the computer market, but for the last few years here, a lot
more HDDs are being used in CE.”

John Donovan, vice president of market research firm TrendFocus, said the
C4K60 shows that Hitachi is serious about extending its tendrils in the CE
market, which is expected to grow exponentially as people demand more
storage for rich media applications.

“Because of its size, high storage capacity and shock specifications, the
1.8-inch hard drive segment is defining the use of hard drives in consumer
electronic devices, where the balance between device size and high capacity
is key,” Donovan said in a statement.

Phan said the key is the ZIF connector, which allows the drive to talk to
the host device through a flex cable and, therefore, gives manufacturers
greater flexibility in mounting schemes.

For example, manufacturers could mount the Travelstar C4K60 in a floating
scheme and implement dampening or insular materials around the drive for
better shock protection.

Because many consumers are using HDDs for playing back digital music or
video, noise quality is important. Therefore, the C4K60’s sound emission at
idle and seek operation are extremely low and undetectable by the human ear.

The Travelstar C4K60 series for consumer electronics operates at 4200 RPM
and is available in 20GB and 30GB capacities for $125 and $160,

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