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Monday, May 15, 2006
Hitachi Launches New 160 GB Perpendicular Mobile Hard Drive

Hitachi announced the Travelstar 5K160 today, its new 2.5-inch 160-gigabyte hard drive designed for notebook and mobile computing. The drive features a new read/write head and promises reliability and high performance even under mechanical and environmental stress factors.

Hitachi's perpendicular hard drive features a new read/write head. The read-head achievement is the result of a new alloy combination - iridium-manganese-chromium (IrMnCr) - a dusting of the element ruthenium and a super hot, ultra-high magnetic field oven.

As hard drive areal density increases, the physical dimensions of the read sensor have had to be significantly reduced to accommodate the smaller data bits. The reduction of the read sensor - more than 10X in 10 years - has increased stress on the read head and created the potential for failure.

In order to realize reliable operation of the read sensor, Hitachi began using the IrMnCr alloy combination, replacing the previous platinum-manganese alloy of prior read-head generations. Hitachi added chromium to the combination to bring additional corrosion-resistant properties to the read sensor.

In combination with IrMnCr, Hitachi used a thinner layer of the element ruthenium to stabilize the read sensor. The read sensors are then baked in an ultra-high magnetic field oven at elevated temperature ? which Hitachi calls the "Super Oven" - to properly orient the magnetization and create a high "pinning field."

The high pinning field, which as the name suggests, pins the ruthenium to the rest of alloy layers that make up the read head to create a stabilizing effect. This results in a read head that is highly resistant to mechanical and environmental stresses.

The Travelstar 5K160 also offers low power, cool-running, high performance and shock resistance.The drive also offers 80 GB per disk platter on one- and two-disk products for an upper capacity of 160 GB.

The Travelstar 5K160 will be available in US retail locations this summer at an MSRP of $269 USD for the 160-GB product. A Travelstar 5K160 Notebook Upgrade Kit will also be available at $299 USD.

Hitachi also said it will launch a 1.8-inch PMR hard drive in the latter half of 2006. Targeted at the consumer electronics market, the new drive is expected to offer greater capacity with the lowest power consumption of any 1.8-inch hard drive, due in large part to a reduction of the disk spin-speed to 3600 RPM from 4200 RPM.

PMR drives are penetrating the market. Toshiba began shipping the first drive in August 2005; Seagate followed in January of this year and recently announced a 750 GB PMR desktop drive. Hitachi is the third manufacturer to announce a perpendicular drive. Technical Specifications:

160/120/80/60/40 GB
9.5 mm in height
102/102/95/95/95/95 grams in weight
5400 RPM
131 billion bits per square inch maximum areal density
4/4/2/2/1 recording heads
2/2/1/1/1 platter(s)
325 G (2ms) operating shock
1000 G (1ms) non-operating shock
540 Mb/s max. media transfer rate
11 ms seek time
5.5 ms average latency
100 Ultra DMA mode-5/SATA 1.5 Gb/s
8 MB data buffer
0.80 w active idle
0.60 w low power idle
2.5/2.5/2.2/2.2/2.2 Bels typical idle acoustics
5 to 55 degrees C operating temperature
Fluid Dynamic Bearing (FDB) spindle motor

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