Seagate boosts Momentus laptop drive capacity to 250GB

Two-platter, 2.5-in. device faces increasing competition, growing price wars

Seagate Technology today is set to unveil an updated Momentus laptop disk drive that boosts capacity from 160GB to 250GB.

The new 2.5-in. Momentus 5400.4 version includes two disk platters and 8MB of cache, and it can spin at speeds of 5,400 rpm, the company said. The new version of the storage device is currently shipping, Seagate said.

The updated hard drive uses perpendicular magnetic recording technology and offers a 3Gbit/sec. interface -- a sizeable jump from the Momentus 5400.3's transfer rate of 1.5Gbit/sec., said Joni Clark, senior product marketing manager for Seagate's personal compute business unit. The 160GB Momentus 5400.3 was introduced in 2006.

Seagate's new laptop hard drive faces fierce competition from the offerings of rivals such as Western Digital, Samsung Electronics Co., Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, Fujitsu Computer Products of America and Toshiba, which are also boosting capacity of laptop disk drives amid steadily dropping prices, observers noted.

Hard-disk price cuts can be traced to a groundswell of interest in solid-state and NAND flash memory technology from vendors like BitMicro Networks, Micron Technology and others, according to survey data released by El Segundo, California-based market research firm iSuppli last fall.

Clark noted that Seagate also plans to establish a firm foothold in the flash memory business, pointing toward a declaration last August by the company's CEO, Bill Watkins, about plans to produce solid-state drives in 2008.

In October, Seagate introduced a hybrid disk and flash memory drive, the Momentus 5400 PSD, or Power Savings Drive.

Clark hinted at the release of another hybrid drive by mid-2008. "Our plan is to say that you can have a hybrid drive or a solid-state drive from Seagate," she said.

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