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Western Digital Corp. unveiled this week its first hard disk drive with capacity exceeding 300GB, following rivals Seagate and Hitachi. The new HDD not only sets a new record for WD in terms of capacity, but also uses a special caching technology that improves performance.

The new WD Caviar SE 320GB features 7200rpm motor, 8MB buffer and 3.5” form-factor. The Caviar 320GB boasts with 748Mb/s buffer to disk transfer rate, 1200Mb/s buffer to host transfer rate, 4.20ms nominal average latency, 8.90ms read seek time, 10.9ms write seek time, 2.0ms track-to-track seek time and 21ms full stroke speed. The new 320GB HDDs will be available for Parallel ATA and Serial ATA interconnections.

WD said it had implemented advanced the caching algorithms in the new and improved Caviar family of hard drives, which makes 8MB buffers as efficient as 16MB buffers.

The Lake Forest, California-based WD did not disclose, which platters are used in the Caviar SE 320GB.

WD Corp. claims that through its advanced electronics and firmware design, WD has the lowest power consumption of any high-capacity desktop-class hard drive. Lowering the drives’ power consumption means the operating temperature of the new WD Caviar drives is much cooler which provides for enhanced drive reliability. Cool drives are increasingly important for today’s multi-drive and small-form-factor systems. Additionally, the company’s new HDDs are proclaimed to be quieter compared to rivaling products and “virtually below the threshold of human hearing”.

The new WD Caviar family includes 8MB buffer and 2MB buffer models and has been shipping in capacities of 40, 80, 120, 160, 200 and 250GB; WD Caviar 320GB capacity hard drives are currently in production with shipping commencing this week.

WD Caviar SE 320 GB drives will be available at retail stores next month. Suggested retail pricing for WD Caviar SE 320 GB capacity is $249. WD also offers the Caviar SE 320GB via its online story with some discounts.

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