Hitachi's New Hard Drive Paves the Way for 4TB and 5TB HDDs

Hitachi Begins to Ship Mobile Hard Drive with Sixth-Generation PMR Platters

by Anton Shilov
12/16/2010 | 04:31 PM

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Hitachi GST) on Thursday announced a series of new single-platter 2.5" hard disk drives (HDD) that are based on the sixth-generation perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) platters. The latter feature higher areal density than currently available drives and can thus enable 3.5" hard drives with 4TB or even 5TB capacities.


Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 hard disk drive comes in 2.5" form-factor and is just 7mm thick. The most important thing about this drive is that it is based on one 500GB sixth-generation PMR platter with 636Gb/inch2 areal density. The platters themselves will eventually enable 2.5" drives with 1TB or 1.5TB capacities with two or three platters inside. Moreover, 3.5" platters with 636Gb/inch2 areal density will have capacity of around 1TB, which means that it will be possible to create 4TB hard drives with four platters or even 5TB HDDs with five platters in the next twelve month, which is in line with expectations by analysts.  

The Travelstar Z5K family of hard drives offers 500GB, 320GB, 250GB capacities, 5400rpm spindle speed, 8MB cache buffer, Serial ATA-300 interface. The manufacturer declares 5.5ms average latency, 13ms average read seek time, 1.8W maximum power consumption during seek and 0.55W minimum power consumption in idle mode.

“As the industry’s only 500GB one disk product and the only second generation 7mm product family, Hitachi continues to push the bar higher, and is leading the shift from 9.5mm 2.5" drives to 7mm 2.5" drives across a broad range of market segments," said Brendan Collins, vice president of product marketing at Hitachi GST.

According to IDC, 500GB, mobile 2.5" hard drives represent 22% of the market today, with this capacity growing 42% annually from 2010 to 2013. Offered in a complete family of 500GB, 320GB and 250GB, which satisfies more than 77% of today’s capacity needs in the portable PC market, these drives are the industry’s only second-generation family of 5400rpm 7mm z-height drives, which are designed as a direct replacement for standard 2.5", 9.5mm drives in everything from external drives to laptops, netbooks and blade servers. All this combined puts the new Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 drive family in the industry sweet spot of opportunity in the mobile 2.5" market, according to the company.

“Ultra thin and light devices are, without argument, a growing trend. In order for these innovative designs to live up to their true potential, they need rugged, reliable high-capacity hard drives that can withstand the rigors of a portable environment and satisfy the storage demands of their end users, and Hitachi continues to deliver,” added Mr. Collins.

All Hitachi Z-series 7mm drives feature common connectors and mounting points for standard integration into existing systems. The Travelstar Z5K500 drive family will also be offered in enhanced availability (EA) models in capacities of 320GB and 500GB, which are designed and fine-tuned for applications needing “always-on” protection in 24x7, low transaction environments including blade servers, network routers, video surveillance and compact RAID systems. 

The Travelstar Z5K500 family will be shipping to select distributors in December.