Hitachi's 5K500, E5K500 hit the mythical 500GB mark for laptops -- with a catch

Oh, how long laptop drives have awaited to reach that magical 500GB / 1TB mark for single and dual drive machines, respectively. Well, today, thanks to Hitachi, road warriors everywhere can find sweet release from their so-very-cramped Toshiba / Western Digital 320GB drives with a new Hitachi 5K500 or E5K500-equipped machine. Except there's just one catch. This jump in storage didn't come from advancements in storage technology -- it came from Hitachi cramming another platter onto the stack. More platters equal more thickness, and the 5K500 and E5K500 are 3mm thicker than your industry-standard 9.5mm thick 2.5-inch drive. In other words, Hitachi copped out in the race to 500GB and created a non-standard sized drive that more than likely won't fit in your laptop or external enclosure.

Furthermore, while they'll start at $400 (the E5K500 will likely cost a bit more, it's the enterprise drive with bulk data encryption and is rated for 24/7 access) when they're available in February, you won't be buying them; even assuming your device is engineered with enough room to accommodate the drives' expanded girth, Hitachi doesn't intend to sell them except to OEMs for systems integration. First on the chopping block: Asus, and its M50 and M70 laptops, which will be getting dual-drive configs for a mobile terabyte. One more glamor shot after the break.