Hitachi touts hard drive for ultra-light PCs that's 26% thinner

New drives will be used in PCs, laptops, video cameras and set top boxes

At the behest of equipment manufacturers looking to build a new class of ultra-thin notebooks, Hitachi GST announced today it will begin shipping quarter-inch thick hard drives -- 26% slimmer than the current drives in most laptops and netbooks today.

"Netbooks today aren't necessarily thin. They're low cost. What [manufacturers] are trying to do is move up from the standard netbook, to ultra-thin and light notebooks," said Brendan Collins, Hitachi GST's vice president of marketing. "So they're trying to add more value and move consumers up the price ladder from around $300 to more like a $500 to $600 range."

Collins said upcoming ultra-light notebooks for which the new drives are being produced target a market segment between low-end netbooks and high-end, ultra-thin notebooks, such as the Macbook Air. The ultra-light notebooks are expected to roll out in the third quarter of the year.

Hitachi's new Z-series drives are .27-in thick and have a single spinning platter with up to 320GB capacity, the same capacity as the company's .37-inch thick, single-platter predecessors. Collins said Hitachi is not releasing a suggested retail price because it sells to equipment manufactures or resellers, who then determine the pricing.

Hitachi said the drive slim down was prompted by laptop manufacturers such as Dell , HP , Lenovo and Aser, which are all planning to produce thinner, lighter notebooks. The new hard drives, however, will serve multiple markets, including television set-top boxes and portable video players, Collins said.

"My guess is we'll begin seeing these [ultra-light, ultra-thin notebooks] sometime in the third quarter," Collins said.

The Z-series includes three drives: the Travelstar Z7K320, a 7200rpm drive with 16MB cache for use in higher-performance notebooks, ultra portables and netbooks; the Travelstar Z5K320, a 5400rpm drive with 8MB cache with lower power usage, lower cost and quieter acoustics for mobile and ultra-portables; and the CinemaStar Z5K320, a 5400rpm drive with 8MB cache for use in A/V streaming devices such as set-top boxes, portable video players, DVR-enabled TVs and video surveillance systems.

The Z5K320 series drives will ship in volume in July; the Z7320 will begin shipping in August, Collins said. "That 320GB capacity point is the sweet spot in the market today," he said.

Hard drives with a single disk platter represent about 70% of the PC drive market today, according to Brendan Collins, vice president of marketing at Hitachi GST. Two-disk drives provide 1TB and 2TB capacities.

"Ideally, you'll be able to use these drives in netbooks, in ultra-thin and light notebooks and in the higher-end notebooks as well. You can use them from top to bottom," Collins said. "That's a big change."

The new slimmer drives are mechanically compatible with their thicker predecessors, meaning their serial ATA connection and side mounting holes are the same so that the drives are interchangeable in laptops, Collins said.

Hitachi said that, considering cost-per-gigabyte and gigabyte-per-cubic-inch, the Z-series drives are more cost-effective and space-efficient than solid-state drives (SSDs), as well as thicker 2.5-inch and 1.8-inch hard drives that also come in 320GB capacities.

SSDs can be 17 times the cost of a hard disk drive and 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, the company stated in its marketing material.

According to market research firm Forward Insights, for PC, notebook and netbook manufacturers, SSD prices are around $1.90 per gigabyte today. Hard drives cost about 30 cents per gigabyte.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags solid-state driveshitachi

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucas Mearian

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?