Hitachi prepares notebooks for greater shocks

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies has announced a line of notebook hard drives which are designed to withstand rougher...

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies has announced a line of notebook hard drives which are designed to withstand rougher treatment than previous models.

With the Travelstar 4K40's tougher specifications, the company hoped to boost its fortunes in the booming market for laptop hard drives.

The drives boast better shock-handling and failure-rate specifications than those of competitors, although it remains to be seen whether this will prove more attractive than features such as faster access to data.

Hitachi claimed the drives, which spin at a rate of 4,200 revolutions per minute, can withstand a shock of 300 gravities (G) at two milliseconds (ms) while operating, or 1000G at 1ms when not in use. Higher gravities and milliseconds indicate greater shock resistance.

The company has also increased the load/unload cycle, the number of times the read/write head can move on and off the media without failure, to 600,000 times which, it claimed, is twice the industry standard specification.

The drives achieve their improved reliability partly because they use a single platter and use fewer chips and other components than previous models. They also use an improved actuating arm design to reduce the risk of contact between arm and disc.

"We've painstakingly manipulated every possible feature on the Travelstar to boost reliability while maintaining the sweet spot at 40GByte," said Bob Holleran, Hitachi GST's general manager for 2.5in and 1.8in hard disc drives.

Hitachi and other companies make drives with capacities greater and less than 40GBytes, but that capacity is already considered the most mainstream.

Hitachi hoped that reliability will prove a unique selling point for its drives by promising a nearly indestructible warehouse for customers' mobile data, while other manufacturers have focused on other benefits such as spin speed.

The HGST drives are available in 20, 30 and 40GBytes capacities. Hitachi sells higher notebook drive capacities in its 80GN and 4K80 lines.

Chris Mellor writes for


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