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Hitachi GST has launched the highest capacity small format drives in the business, at 375GB/platter, giving it a marginal advantage over 2.5-inch drives from competitors Seagate, Toshiba and WD. They'e bound to catch up.

The Travelstar 5K750 and 7K750 hard drive families spin at 5400rpm and 7,200rpm respectively, and have a standard 2-platter design with a 9.5mm depth, with three capacity points: 500GB, 640GB, and 750GB.

The 5K750 drives have an 8MB buffer and 3Gbit/s SATA interface, and Hitachi is pleased with their low electricity usage; 0.5 watts idle and 1.4 watts during read and write operations. The 5K750 is also claimed to offer the best non-operating shock at 1000G/1ms to protect against bumps and rough handling in mobile environments.

The 7K750 has a 16MB buffer, the same 3Gbits/s SATA interface, and, Hitachi says, the lowest read/write power specification in its class at 1.8 watts. It is also a self-encrypting drive and meets the Trusted Computing's Group Opal storage security specification.

By deleting the encryption key, the data on the drive is rendered unreadable, eliminating any need for data-overwrite operations.

These are the first Hitachi drives to feature Advanced Format, which increases the physical sector size on hard drives from 512 bytes to 4096 (4K) bytes. It helps utilise the storage surface area more efficiently, enabling in principle, drive capacities to go beyond 2TB.

Hitachi is aiming the drives at notebook computers, external storage, gaming consoles, video surveillance and network routers; no surprises there.

OEM qualification is under way; Wentao Yang, global procurement VP at Lenovo, said: “We are currently qualifying and integrating Hitachi’s new 750GB family in to our mainstream and performance systems.”

Both drives have various technologies to make them quiet and reliable and green in a manufacturing sense, although they are not quite haulage-free.

The Travelstar 5K750 is currently shipping in volume. Retail kits will be available in November with a suggested retail price of $129.99. The 7K750 product will be available in the first quarter of 2011. ®

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