Hitachi stuffs 320GB into world's fastest 7mm hard drive

Well look at that: it's the world's first 320GB hard disk drive to spin at 7,200 RPM in a 7-mm high package -- take that Seagate. The 2.5-inch Serial ATA 3Gbps Travelstar Z7K320 features a 1,334Mbps max transfer rate assisted by a 16MB cache. The HDD draws 1.8 watts during read/write operations and 0.8 watts on lower-power idle while humming along at 23dB when idle or 24dB when seeking. And that skinny 7-mm form factor means it'll go places no standard 9.5-mm thick drive could even dream of when it hits the mass production lines in August -- like say next generation ultra-thin netbooks.

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Hitachi 7mm Z-Series Family Highlights

  • Hitachi builds foundation for future generations of one-disk 2.5-inch drives with its new Z-series family of Travelstar and CinemaStar drives, enabling the most cost effective, space efficient storage solutions for next generation portable devices

  • Entire Hitachi Z-series family of drives offered in capacities up to 320GB – the industry's highest capacity 7mm 2.5-inch drive in a one-disk design

  • The Travelstar Z7K320 drive is the world's first 7200 RPM, 7mm 2.5-inch drive for high-performance compact systems and devices

  • The CinemaStar Z5K320 drive leads the CE space as the first 7mm drive optimized for audio/video (A/V) devices such as personal video recorders (PVR) and set-top-boxes (STB)

  • An optional self encrypting drive (SED) model for protecting data, and an enhanced-availability (EA) model for applications needing around-the-clock data access in lower-transaction environments (Travelstar Z-series only) round out the family

SAN JOSE, Calif. June 1, 2010 – Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Hitachi GST) today announced the industry's broadest family of ultra slim and light 7mm z-height drives. Whether customers need a slim 7mm drive that is the highest capacity, fastest or tuned precisely for A/V streaming, the new Hitachi Z-series family of Travelstar and CinemaStar drives delivers on the company's proven strengths of reliability, low-power consumption, exceptional shock resistance and quiet acoustics. With the entire family offered in capacities up to 320GB – the industry's highest 7mm drive capacity in a one-disk design – Hitachi is at the forefront, leading the shift from 9.5mm 2.5-inch drives to 7mm 2.5-inch drives across a broad range of market segments.

From laptops and handhelds to PVRs and blade servers, Hitachi's new 7mm Z-series family of Travelstar and CinemaStar drives are designed as a direct replacement for today's standard 2.5-inch, 9.5mm hard drives. All Hitachi Z-series drives feature common connectors and common mounting points for simple integration into existing systems, and enable greater design flexibility to differentiate and meet market demands for new, thinner, lighter and more robust devices.

When combining cost per gigabyte and gigabyte per cubic millimeter (GB/mm3), Hitachi 7mm drives are the most cost-effective and space-efficient storage solutions when compared to solid state drives (SSD), 2.5-inch 9.5 mm and 1.8-inch hard drives, offering a compelling value proposition for OEMs and system integrators.

Largely cost prohibitive for the mainstream ultra-portable consumer market, SSDs can be 17 times, and 1.8-inch drives can be up to seven times more expensive on a cost per gigabyte basis when compared to the new Hitachi Z-series drives. When comparing GB/mm3, Hitachi 7mm drives are 36 percent more space efficient than 2.5-inch SSDs and 9.5mm hard drives, while offering 73 percent more space efficiency than 1.8 inch SSDs. By using Hitachi Z-series drives, manu¬facturers can utilize space savings to design thinner devices, increase shock robustness, improve unplugged time by using a larger battery or allow for enhanced cooling and air flow due to the thinner hard drive design. Hitachi's new 7mm Z-series drives will also help achieve greater logistics efficiency relative to current 9.5mm designs by enabling new packaging designs that improve pallet density. These smaller, thinner and lighter systems with reduced packaging sizes give manufactures, and even Hitachi, the ability to optimize volumetric weight and consolidate the number of shipments; thereby reducing shipment costs while reducing the overall impact on resources and the environment.

"As a leading personal computing company, we are constantly evaluating and offering new designs and technologies that make computing more enjoyable and affordable for our customers," said Wentao Yang, vice president, Global Procurement, Lenovo Group. "Hitachi's 7mm product family represents important advancements for the industry. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Hitachi and working together to innovate and take the computing landscape to newer smaller heights."

Samsung's mobile PC and netbook marketing team states, "Here at Samsung we strive to deliver affordability with state-of-the-art technology and design. Working with Hitachi and their new 7mm hard drives gives us the ability to explore the limits of modern design without sacrificing capacity, performance, battery life or quality. Hitachi continues to demonstrate their commitment and innovation in the 2.5-inch drive market, and we are grateful for their continued support."

"We are putting the full weight and force of our R&D, manufacturing, distribution and marketing behind our one-disk 7mm drives such that we can lead the category and demonstrate that we have the most complete, robust and flexible offerings in this rapidly emerging category," said Brendan Collins, vice president of marketing, Hitachi GST. "Overall, our new 7mm strategy complements our existing two-disk, 9.5mm 2.5-inch drives, which will continue to serve the market's high capacity requirements. Both 7mm and 9.5mm 2.5-inch drives offer distinct advantages, but in combination they are very powerful and uniquely position us in the market. Our Z-series drives are currently being qualified by virtually every top PC OEM around the world, which is evidence that we continue to offer precisely the kind of drives our customers need to design differentiated solutions to stay competitive."

"The relentless pursuit for thinner, lighter and lower cost notebook PCs is impacting the design requirements of all PC components, including hard disk drives," said John Rydning, research director at IDC. "Hitachi's plan to satisfy these design requirements with its new 7mm z-height, one-disk, mobile 2.5-inch hard disk drive, along with its strategy to make it price-competitive with standard 9.5mm products, should drive broad adoption."

New Hitachi Z-Series Family Includes:

Travelstar Z7K320 Family – Industry's first 7200 RPM, 7mm, 2.5-inch hard drives
The Hitachi Travelstar Z7K320 drive with a 16MB cache and a Serial ATA 3Gb/sec interface provides high capacity, performance and durability on a proven platform for quality and reliability. For use in notebook PCs, ultra portables and netbooks, and compact desktop systems, the Travelstar Z7K320 drive delivers up to 18 percent better application performance than 5400 RPM models of the same capacity, turning netbooks and laptops into performance-leading solutions.

Best-of-breed acoustics and eco-friendly features such as low power and a halogen-free design make the Travelstar Z7K320 drive a smart choice. The drive offers 1.8 watts (W) read/write power and 0.8W low power idle for more unplugged computing time. It also delivers 2.3 idle / 2.4 seek bels for a quieter, richer audio-listening experience for music, movies and games.

Travelstar Z5K320 Family – Industry's highest capacity 7mm, 5400 RPM 2.5-inch hard drive at 320GB
The new Hitachi Travelstar Z5K320 – a 7mm, 5400 RPM, 2.5-inch, 8MB cache, Serial ATA 3Gb/sec interface hard drive – meets the needs of mobile and ultra-portable applications in an eco-friendly environment. The Travelstar Z5K320 drive offers 1.6W read/write power and 0.55W low power idle, and delivers quiet acoustics at 1.9 idle / 2.0 seek bels.

CinemaStar Z5K320 Family – Industry's first 7mm drives for A/V streaming devices
Hitachi CinemaStar drives are specifically designed for A/V streaming devices and power the most popular set-top boxes (STB), PVRs, portable video players, DVR-enabled TVs and video surveillance systems in the market today. This fifth generation 2.5-inch, 5400 RPM, 8MB cache, Serial ATA 3Gb/sec interface CinemaStar drive continues this tradition, delivering the right balance of capacity, power-management and outstanding low acoustics.

Continuing to push acoustic performance, as well as hard drive and systems reliability, Hitachi has implemented several design improvements to enhance its new CinemaStar Z5K320 drive family. At 1.9 idle / 2.0 seek bels, the new CinemaStar Z5K320 family delivers the quietest 7mm 2.5-inch experience for bedroom-quiet systems. Reliability enhancements include an improved protection scheme for power fluctuation and enhanced Thermal Fly-Height Control for improved error rates.

Security, Reliability, Availability
Travelstar Z-series family is the company's fourth generation of drives featuring optional BDE for hard drive level data security. These self-encrypting drives (SED) are designed to meet the Trusted Computing Group (TCG) Opal Storage Security specification. The drives support Pre-Boot Authentication, and offer better administrative controls for data protection and an easier drive re-deployment process.

The Travelstar Z7K320 and Z5K320 drive families will also be offered in Enhanced Availability (EA) models in capacities of 250GB and 320GB, 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.

Delivering the highest operating shock protection in its class, the new Hitachi Z-series family is based on a reliable one-disk design hitting capacity sweetspots of 160GB, 250GB and 320GB. Qualification samples of the Travelstar Z5K320 family are now available; volume shipments will begin in July. Volume shipments of the Travelstar Z7K320 and the CinemaStar Z5K320 drive families will begin in August.