If you can't beat SSDs (and you can't, we've checked), you might as well try and dress like them by squeezing into the unreasonably low profile of just 7mm. Such must be the reasoning behind Hitachi's svelte 7mm-thick HDD series, which today gets augmented with a new top-of-the-line drive boasting 500GB of storage room. This single-platter archivist measure 2.5 inches diagonally, but as its Z5K500 product name suggests, it only spins at the tame rate of 5400RPM. The less generously proportioned Z7K320 offers 7200RPM if you're after more oomph, but it's most likely that your first real contact with either of these drives will be when you see them built into whatever larger device you're buying. Like, say, an ultrathin netbook or a PMP that's eager to swallow your music collection whole.
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Hitachi GST Ships Industry's First, One-Disk, 7mm 500GB Hard Drive

Hitting the Industry Sweet Spot in the 2.5-inch Hard Drive Market, New Thin and Rugged Travelstar™ Z5K500 Drive Enables Innovative Designs for Ultra-portable CE Devices, Laptops and Netbooks, and Compact Industrial Systems;

G-Technology™ G-DRIVE Slim™ Ships with the New Travelstar Z5K500 drive, Making it the Thinnest 500GB, 2.5-inch External Hard Drive in the World

SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Hitachi GST) today announced its new 500GB, 5,400 RPM Travelstar Z5K500 drive – the industry's highest capacity, one-disk, 7 millimeter (mm) z-height hard disk drive (HDD).

According to IDC¹, 500GB, mobile 2.5-inch drives represent 22 percent of the market today, with this capacity growing 42 percent annually from 2010 to 2013. Offered in a complete family of 500GB, 320GB and 250GB, which satisfies more than 77 percent of today's capacity needs in the portable PC market¹, these drives are the industry's only second-generation family of 5,400 RPM, 7mm z-height drives, which are designed as a direct replacement for standard 2.5-inch, 9.5mm drives in everything from external drives to laptops, netbooks and blade servers. All this combined puts the new Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 drive family in the industry sweet spot of opportunity in the mobile 2.5-inch market.

With its slim profile and high capacities, the Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 drive family delivers the best cost per gigabyte and gigabyte per cubic millimeter (GB/mm3) when compared to solid state drives (SSD), and 2.5-inch and 1.8-inch 9.5mm HDDs, offering a compelling value proposition for OEMs and system integrators. With the broadest line of 7,200 and 5,400 RPM 7mm drives now at their fingertips, Hitachi customers can differentiate product lines by utilizing space savings to produce thinner devices, add battery capacity, increase shock robustness, or improve internal airflow – all better uses of the volume in a system than shipping a partially "empty" 9.5mm 2.5-inch hard drive with only one disk.

Delivering the right balance of power and acoustics, the drives feature 1.8 watts (W) read/write power and 0.55W low power idle, and deliver a nearly silent operation at 1.9 idle / 2.1 seek bels, which is quieter than most ambient noise in a household. All Travelstar Z5K500 drives feature an 8MB cache and a Serial ATA 3Gb per second interface. They are also Hitachi's second generation Advanced Format drive, which increases the physical sector size on HDDs from 512 bytes to 4,096 (4K) bytes, thereby improving drive capacity and error correction capabilities.

All Hitachi Z-series 7mm drives feature common connectors and mounting points for standard integration into existing systems, and enable greater design flexibility to differentiate and meet market demands for new thinner, lighter and more robust devices.

Security, Reliability, Availability

Travelstar Z-series family features optional bulk data encryption (BDE) for hard drive level data security. When employing BDE, data is scrambled using a key as it is being written to the disk and then descrambled with the key as it is retrieved. The Travelstar Z5K500 drive family will also be offered in Enhanced Availability (EA) models in capacities of 320GB and 500GB, which are designed and fine-tuned for applications needing "always-on" protection in 24x7, low transaction environments including blade servers, network routers, video surveillance and compact RAID systems.

The Travelstar Z5K500 family will be shipping to select distributors in December.

New 500GB Travelstar Z5K500 Enables Sleek, Elegant G-Technology G-DRIVE slim

The G-Technology G-DRIVE slim leverages the new rugged, 7mm Travelstar Z5K500 drive, making it the thinnest 500GB, 2.5-inch external hard drive in the world. With its ultra thin profile and sleek design that complements the Apple® MacBook®, MacBook™ Pro or MacBook Air™, users now have increased capacity in a stylish footprint to help them move, work and play with their digital content. Now at 500GB, the drive has enough room to store up to 125 hours of high-definition video, 500 hours of standard video, 178 movies, 125,000 4-minute songs or 250 games². Formatted for Macs with simple plug n' play connectivity, the G-DRIVE slim is Time Machine® ready for added backup protection. It is USB-powered, so there is no need to carry around an extra power cord.

The 500GB G-Technology G-DRIVE slim will be shipping to retailers in early Q1 2011. Pricing has not been set.

"Ultra thin and light devices are, without argument, a growing trend. In order for these innovative designs to live up to their true potential, they need rugged, reliable high-capacity hard drives that can withstand the rigors of a portable environment and satisfy the storage demands of their end users, and Hitachi continues to deliver," said Brendan Collins, vice president of product marketing at Hitachi GST. "As the industry's only 500GB one disk product and the only second generation 7mm product family, Hitachi continues to push the bar higher, and is leading the shift from 9.5mm 2.5-inch drives to 7mm 2.5-inch drives across a broad range of market segments."

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Hitachi's 7mm-thick hard drives grow to 500GB, keep slimline profile