WD ships 5mm Blue UltraSlim drive for thin Ultrabooks and beyond

We were intrigued with the prospects of Western Digital's 5mm Blue drive when we saw it last summer: finally, a 2.5-inch spinning disk thin enough to rival slimmer SSDs without the price premium of a hybrid like the WD Black SSHD. If you shared the same curiosity, you'll be glad to hear that the finished product is shipping as the WD Blue UltraSlim. Device builders can now stuff 500GB into spaces that would exclude 7mm disks, yet pay just $89 for the privilege -- a price low enough to let even frugal Ultrabooks shed some bulk. The 5mm disk reaches its miniscule dimensions through the use of a tiny edge connector that mates both power and a SATA interface, leaving more room for the drive machinery. We can't guarantee that you'll find a Blue UltraSlim in your next PC or set-top box when Western Digital hasn't named any of its customers, but we wouldn't be surprised if the wafer-like drive is commonplace in the near future.

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WD® SHIPPING WORLD'S FIRST 5 MM 2.5-INCH HARD DRIVE

First in a Family of High-performance and Slim Drives for Ultra-portable Devices Feature Innovative Mechanical Designs and Solid State Hybrid Drive Technology

IRVINE, Calif. – April 23, 2013 – WD®, a Western Digital (NASDAQ: WDC) company and world leader in storage and connected-life products, today announced it is shipping the world's first ultra-slim 2.5-inch, 5 mm hard drives and solid state hybrid drives (SSHD), which are designed for integration into the slimmest devices and space-constrained computing environments. With 500 GB of storage capacity and models with high performance-enabling solid state hybrid drive technology, this slim product line helps to address the tradeoffs system designers often make between capacity, physical size and performance.

"With the launch of our new WD Blue™ 5 mm ultra slim hard drives and our WD Black™ SSHD products, currently shipping to OEMs, WD is delivering to our customers a variety of solutions that maximize storage capacity and volumetric efficiency, as well as performance and system responsiveness, for consumers," said Matt Rutledge, vice president of WD's client computing business unit. "Our engineering team took a clean-sheet approach with 5 mm to deliver an ultra-thin hard drive that enables a world of possibilities and applications for mobile computing and beyond."

WD designed the new WD Blue and WD Black 5 mm drives to enable new levels of device portability. The new drives are aimed to increase internal storage capacity while enabling it to fit into smaller device slots. In addition, the slimmer and more portable the device, the more vulnerable the hard drive is to user-induced stress. To battle this, WD has designed key enablers to the 5 mm form factor:

Ultra-slim Form Factor – 5 mm height with compact connector offers system designers a greater degree of chassis design freedom. This ultra-slim form factor reduces weight by up to 36 percent compared with a standard 9.5 mm drive.

Best-in-class Acoustics and Shock – WD's best-in-class acoustics use technologies that reduce noise when the drive is active or idle. The WD Blue and WD Black 5 mm drives deliver unprecedented operation and non-operation shock specifications with 400 G and 1000G, respectively.

Edge Card Technology – WD designed the connector and board utilizing cell phone miniaturization technology to maximize the mechanical sway space in the hard drive and ensure shock performance.

Edge Card Connector – WD Blue 5 mm hard drives also feature the first application of a new small
form factor SFF-8784 edge connector. This new connector receives power from and interfaces with the host I/O bus via the SATA interface connector SFF-8784.

StableTrac™ – The motor shaft is secured at both ends to reduce system-induced vibration and stabilize platters for accurate tracking during read and write operations which enables consistently higher performance.

Dual Stage Actuator – Leading-edge enterprise dual stage actuators provide two actuators that improve positional accuracy over the data track(s). The primary actuator provides coarse displacement using conventional electromagnetic actuator principles. The secondary actuator uses piezoelectric motion to fine tune the head positioning to a higher degree of accuracy.

Price and Availability

Shipping today to select industrial distributors and OEM customers in 500 GB capacities, WD Blue 2.5-inch 5 mm hard drives, (model: WD5000MPCK) has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $89.00 USD. WD Blue 2.5-inch 5 mm hard drives are covered by a two-year limited warranty. WD Black SSHD versions are currently shipping to OEM's and integrators with both WD proprietary hybrid technology and industry standard SATA I/O technology. More information on WD Blue 2.5-inch 5 mm hard drives may be found on the company's website at http://www.wd.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=800#tab11.