Hitachi Improves Upon 2.5-inch Drives

From Hitachi’s press release:

In its next-generation disk-based storage technology for notebooks, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies is looking beyond capacity to advance the art of hard disk drives. With storage-capacity leadership securely under its belt, Hitachi GST is introducing the new Travelstar 4K40 — not bigger, just better.

As the leader in both 2.5-inch technology and segment share, Hitachi GST is making a bold move in the mainstream notebook hard drive space by putting capacity aside for the moment to boost all aspects of reliability. Hitachi’s new 40 GB, 4200 RPM hard drive is a reliability-focused product, achieved through the following key technical enhancements:

  • New single-disk and reduced chip-set (4 to 2) design decreases number of components used;
  • Industry’s highest operating (300 G/2 ms) and non-operating shock (1000 G/1ms) in 4200 RPM category to withstand rougher handling;
  • Doubling of industry standard specification for load/unload cycles — the number of times the read/write head can move on and off the media without failure – to 600,000 times;
  • Redesign of the actuator arm – the arm that carries the read/write element – to significantly reduce the chance for data loss from arm/disk contact.

Hitachi customers agree that for the majority of notebook users, 40 GB remains a popular capacity point. What customers want, in addition, is a more rugged hard drive in high volume. The Travelstar 4K40 is in direct response to that customer request.

“We’ve painstakingly manipulated every possible feature on the new Travelstar to boost reliability while maintaining the sweet spot at 40 GB,” said Bob Holleran, general manager, 2.5-inch and 1.8-inch HDDs, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. “We are in the enviable position of having a stable and proven design, which allows us to invest time fine-tuning the product to customer specification.”

Improving internal hard drive reliability is a strong indicator of the drives’ ruggedness and performance in the field. With the Travelstar 4K40, Hitachi is meeting customer demand for both reliability and strong supply.

As growing numbers of consumer and corporate users are choosing laptops over desktops for wireless and mobility reasons, the ability to provide a more stable supply of notebook hard drives becomes critical.

In a January 2004 report on the worldwide PC market, IDC notes that portable PCs grew by 27.4 percent year-over-year in 2003 while desktop PCs grew by just 6.7 percent. IDC also projected in a January 2004 hard drive industry report that the demand for 2.5-inch hard drives would increase from 47 million in 2003 to more than 58 million in 2004, noting “wireless connectivity and the desire for mobility trump any cost advantage the desktop PC might offer.”

The Travelstar 4K40, shipping today, is available in 20, 30 and 40 GB capacities. The 4K40 product line is a companion line to the Hitachi Travelstar 80GN and 4K80 family of 4200 RPM 2.5-inch hard drives. Customers needing higher capacities can continue to select from the 80GN or 4K80 lines, offering up to 80 GB of capacity.

Technical Specifications
Travelstar 4K40
20/30/40 GB
9.5 mm in height
4,200 rpm
70 billion bits per square inch maximum areal density
1/1/1 glass disk platter(s)
1/2/2 GMR recording head(s)
1000 G/1ms non-operating shock,
300 G/2ms operating shock
7.1 ms average latency
12 ms average seek time
ATA-6 100 MB/sec maximum interface transfer rate
Ultra DMA (mode-5)
95/95/95 weight in grams
2.1/2.1/2.1 Bels typical idle acoustics
2.4/2.4/2.4 Bels typical operating acoustics

* 1 gigabyte = 1 billion bytes

For more information on Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, please visit the company’s Web site at


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