Seagate Revs Up Notebook Drives

The company this week is set to unveil its Momentus notebook drives, pushing capacity to 120 Gbytes at 5,400-rpm performance and 100 Gbytes at 7,200 rpm. While most of Seagate's sales to date have been to large, multinational notebook makers, Seagate executives now are aiming much of their efforts squarely at the channel.

According to Mark Walker, product marketing manager at Seagate, "15 [percent] to 20 percent of our notebook sales are going through the channel vs. OEMs. But the channel business has been growing."

Seagate, Scotts Valley, Calif., has been focused on building its brand and presence in the custom-system channel. Late last year, the company launched, an information and how-to portal for system builders, to promote its entry into the space.

When Seagate launched its channel effort last year, its goal was to enlist 8,000 system builder partners in the course of a year. Walker said the company so far has signed up 8,200 new channel partners, mostly in the United States.

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"I would have to give Seagate an 'A' rating," said Rick Roberts, CEO of Integrated System Technologies, a system builder in Charlotte, N.C. Roberts said he is aiming to reach a 200-notebook-per-month run rate over the next several months and believes Seagate's five-year warranty offerings are a key differentiator.

Seagate's Momentus drives range from $289 for a 120-Gbyte, 5400-rpm Parallel ATA drive to $380 for a 100-Gbyte Momentus, 7,200-rpm Serial ATA drive. At 7,200 rpm, Seagate said the high-end Momentus offers the highest-available pin speed for a notebook drive. The drives are expected to be available today.

Roberts said Seagate also has been partnering with Intel to deliver notebook systems, but he believes the hard drive is often "the weakest link" in a system. By offering the five-year warranty, Seagate is eliminating much of customers' worries, he said.