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Hitachi creates dedicated notebook 7200rpm HDD

Plus Nvidia revamps nForce 2, and HP's new widescreen notebook

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Hard Drive

Hitachi has unveiled what it claims is the first 7200rpm hard drive designed for mobile systems, the Travelstar 7K60.

To date, mobile-oriented drives have had to run at 5400rpm, says Hitachi, in order to maintain acceptable noise levels and power consumption. Vendors have offered 7200rpm hard drives for notebooks, but these have really been units designed for desktop use, it claims.

The 7K60 spins 33 per cent faster than a 5400rpm drive, which contributes to a 15 per cent improvement in data transfer rates and a 20 per cent lower rotational latency, ie. the time it takes to get the data required in position under the read-write head.

At the heart of the 7K60 is Hitachi's 'femto' slider - the "tiny flying wing supporting the read/write head above the surface of the disk". It's 30 per cent smaller than the previous generation of slider. So what? you say. Well, replies Hitachi, it means the drive consumes 11 per cent less power and increases the surface area available for recording by 3.5 per cent.

They may be small figures, but they are enough to allow Hitachi to change other drive specifications in order to allow it to raise each platter's rotational speed to 7200rpm without significantly increasing the unit's overall power consumption and noise level.

The femto slider also raises the drives resistance to shocks by 25 per cent, making the unit more suitable for computing on the move, says Hitachi.

The 7K60 offers 60GB of storage on two glass platters in a 2.5in form factor. The drive offers 50 billion bits per square inch maximum areal density. It has a 10ms seek time and a 4.2ms average latency. It weighs 95g.

Hitachi has used the same technology to rack its 2.5in 5400rpm offering to an 80GB capacity. The 5K80, along with the 7K60, will be shipping in volume later this month. Hitachi did not reveal pricing.

Chipset

Nvidia has announced its support for AMD's 400MHz frontside bus, which debuted this week with the Athlon XP 3200+. Nvidia's nForce 2 400 and nForce 2 Ultra 400 support the new FSB.

The nForce 2 Ultra 400 provides 400MHz DDR SDRAM support across a dual-channel bus. The nForce2 400 offers only single-channel DDR support to enable Nvidia to hit a lower price point. Both parts offer AGP 8x graphics,

Motherboards based on the new parts are available immediately from a wide range of vendors, said Nvidia, and include ABIT, ASUSTeK, Microtech, Chaintech, FIC, MiTAC, MSI, QDI/Legend, Shuttle and Soltek.

Notebook PC

HP has launched a 'ground-breaking' graphics and multimedia-oriented 15.4in widescreen notebook, the Compaq Presario X1000.

The X1000 is based on Intel's Centrino platform, offering a Pentium M CPU at 1.3, 1.4, 1.5 and 1.6GHz, plus Intel's Pro Wireless 2100 802.11b card. HP is offering an integrated Bluetooth module as an option.

The 15.4in display operates at 1920x1200, 1680x1050 and 1280x800 widescreen resolutions. It's apparently "20 per cent brighter, features 33 per cent wider viewing angles and includes an improved contrast ratio compared to traditional notebook displays". It is driven by a choice of ATI Mobility Radeon 9200 with 64MB or 32MB of DDR SDRAM, or the Mobility Radeon 7500 with 32MB of DDR.

Buyers can select a 40, 60 or 80GB 5400rpm hard drive, and a 24x CD-ROM, 8x DVD, 24x CD-RW/DVD combo, or DVD+RW optical drive. They can add up to 2GB of 266MHz DDR SDRAM.

Whatever options buyers choose, they'll get three USB 2.0 ports, one 1394 port and an S-Video output. The X1000 sports integrated 10/100Mbps Ethernet, a built-in 56Kbps modem and an SD/MMC card slot.

The notebook is 3.25cm (1.3in) thick and only weighs 2.95kg (6.5lbs). It offers five hours' of battery life, HP claims. It goes on sale on 21 May in the US for around $1299 and up. ®

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