Good news for those of you hankering for a little more storage in your laptop: Hitachi has announced a new 500GB 2.5” hard drive. Bad news: it probably won't fit in your current laptop, and Hitachi wouldn't currently sell it to you if it did.
The new TravelStar drive is available in two models: the standard 5K500 for laptops and an 'enhanced-availability' version dubbed the E5K500, featuring bulk data encryption in hardware and designed for 24/7 use in blade servers and CCTV DVR systems. Both versions are OEM only, meaning Hitachi currently has no plans to sell them to end users at a retail level.
Although this marks the first mass-produced 2.5” drive to reach half a terabyte of storage, the additional space does come at a cost: additional space. Because manufacturers haven't been able to scale the new perpendicular recording
technology as fast as they would have liked, Hitachi has decided to beat its competitors to the 500GB mark by cramming a third platter into the drive. Although it has done all it can to keep the size down, the new drive is 12.5mm thick compared to the more usual 9.5mm of a standard laptop drive.
It's not all bad news, though. The drives feature a 3.0Gb/s SATA interface for nippy data transfer, a 'Rotational Vibration Safeguard' system which Hitachi claims will detect rough handling and park the heads before damage can occur, non-operating shock protection at up to 400G, and it has managed to keep the power usage down to similar levels as previous two-platter designs: 1.9W during reading and writing and just 0.7W when idle.
The first company to use the drives, available from February 2008, will be Asus in its M50 and M70 notebooks: the company is even going so far as to use two to make a laptop computer with 1TB of storage.
Tempted by the thought of so much storage in such a tiny space, or are you capable of leaving some
media files at home when you take your laptop out on the road? Give us your thoughts over in the forums