Hitachi touts micro HDDs' 'bling' factor

Higher capacity iPod Minis on the way?

Hitachi Global Storage's addlepated attempt to define "hard drives as the new 'bling'" - 'it's me 'ard drive, innit' - shouldn't detract from the fact that the company has begun to ship its promised 8GB 1in HDD.

The Microdrive 3K8 - which Hitachi is calling 'Mikey' in a lame attempt to gain urban cool - is also available with a 6GB capacity. It consumes 40 per cent less power than its predecessor, the 3K6, and is almost 20 per cent lighter, the company said.

Hitachi was Apple's original iPod Mini hard drive supplier, so today's announcement may presage higher capacity Minis in due course. The 3K8 is shipping in limited quantities now, but should enter mass production next month, just in time for Apple's Christmas push.

The 3K8 supports the CE-ATA interconnect spec, in addition to PATA and ATA-on-MMC. The 6GB and 8GB drives contain a single platter, and are 5mm thick. They weigh 13g. Spinning at 3600rpm, the disks are rated at 8.33ms average latency with a 12ms average seek time. They can withstand 400Gs of operating shock and 2000Gs of non-operating shock, Hitachi said, claiming that's a world-leading figure for a 1in drive.

The 3K8 is equipped with Hitachi’s Extra Sensory Protection (ESP) technology - groan - which immediately parks the read-write head when it detects a rapid vertical descent. ESP is activated during a fall of as little as 10cm and effectively allows the operating-shock tolerance to mimic non-operating-shock tolerance, Hitachi claimed.

The company will also ship the 1.8in Travelstar C4K60 Slim - at the end of this month. The device is 30 per cent thinner and lighter than its predecessor, the plain C4K60. Hitachi is offering single-platter 20GB and 30GB versions first, with a two-platter 40GB and 60GB model coming in Q1 2006, though these will be thicker: 8mm to the earlier model's 5mm.

All four of the Travelstars' disks spin at 4200rpm, yielding a 7.1ms average latency and a 15ms average seek time. The can take up to 600Gs of operating shock and 1500Gs of non-operating shock. ®