Hitachi Readies Monster 500GB Mobile Hard Drive

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The Travelstar 5K500, the 2.5-inch mobile hard drive sets a new benchmark for capacity and, according to Hitachi, will usher in a new era of slim desktops, full-featured notebooks, gaming consoles and other advanced applications for mobile consumers.

Offered in both 400GB and 500GB models, Travelstar 5K500 is the fourth-generation Hitachi mobile drive to use perpendicular magnetic recording technology. The massive drives, which hit the market in February, will be available with a 3.0 GBps Serial ATA (SATA) interface for enhanced system performance.

Along with the 5K500 model, Hitachi also announced on Thursday the availability of an enhanced-availability (EA) version, dubbed the Travelstar E5K500, which is going to hit the market in second quarter 2008 and be available in both 400GB and 500GB capacities. The E5K500 is designed for applications that need 24x7 operation in environments like blade servers, network routers, point-of-sale terminals and video surveillance systems.

In a statement, Larry Swezey, director of consumer and commercial HDD for Hitachi, said Travelstar 5K500 hits some recent trends in today's mobile computing market.

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"Consumers tend to think of their notebooks as less of a pure technology tool and more of a mobile entertainment devices for taking large libraries of movies, music, games and pictures on the go," he said. "As a result, notebooks are now starting to ship with wide, high definition screens and large, high quality speakers for playing digital audio and video."

The drive features Hitachi's Rotational Vibration Safeguard (RVS) technology, which mitigates the adverse system performance impact of premium speakers. RVS is a warning system for the drive, which lets it sense a potential disturbance beforehand so it can stabilize and avoid disruptions. The drives also offer the option of Bulk Data Encryption (BDE).

Hitachi also said the drives take into account energy efficiency. Despite the Travelstar 5K500 using a three-disk design for capacity, the power profile is nearly identical to its two-disk predecessor. The drives feature 1.9 watt read/write power draw. Their 0.7 watt low power idle also extends batter life so the notebook can remain unplugged for longer stretches.