Toshiba Debuts Ultra-Small Hard Drives with New Connectors

Toshiba Expands Capacities of 1.8" Hard Drives to 220GB

by Anton Shilov
01/25/2011 | 09:13 PM

Toshiba Corp. on Tuesday unveiled a new generation of its ultra portable hard disk drives (HDDs) in 1.8" for-factor. The novelties are based on the latest generation perpendicular magnetic recording platters, provide up to 220GB of capacity and utilize low-insertion force (LIF) Serial ATA connectors that enable a 10% smaller footprint compared to standard 1.8” drives using microSATA connectors.


The new Toshiba MLxx39GSL family of 1.8" hard drives offer 160GB, 200GB and 220GB capacities (on one platter), feature 4200rpm spindle speed, 16MB cache, Serial ATA-150 interface and have average seek time of 15ms. The drives are also exceptionally quiet, operating at 14dB at idle and 15dB at seek, and require only 0.35W of power at low power idle, the smallest power consumption levels for any SATA drive.

The drives are capable of withstanding the demands of mobility usage, tolerating up to 1500Gs of non-operational shock and 600Gs of operational shock, compared to 900G of non-operational shock and 400G of operational shock for the most robust 2.5" HDDs currently available.

Toshiba has pioneered the development and advancement of 1.8” drives, starting with the industry’s first volume 1.8” drives in 2000. Industry analyst firm IDC reported that Toshiba shipped more than 92% of all 1.8” drives on a global basis in the third quarter of 2010.

Historically, 1.8" has been used in ultra-slim notebooks, rare media players, some consumer electronics devices  and other products. However, nowadays solid-state drives (SSDs) can provide enough storage space and therefore represent a direct threat for such HDDs. For example, flash-based storage replaced 1" hard drives years ago because of higher reliability, lower power consumption, higher performance and many other factors.

“These new drives build on Toshiba’s history of innovation and leadership in the 1.8” drive segment. Designers of next-generation consumer electronics, tablets, and mobile devices need disk drives that will stand up to the demands of day-to-day usage in a world increasingly defined by mobility and connectivity to all forms of content. These newest members of our 1.8” family are designed to meet those demands," said Maciek Brzeski, vice president of mobile marketing at Toshiba storage device division.

It is not really likely that Toshiba's new family of HDDs will become popular on the mainstream market. Still, some multimedia enthusiasts in budget may prefer 220GB 1.8" hard drive to a more expensive SSD.

“The proliferation of devices targeted at media-savvy and media-hungry consumers and businesses have been a major factor in the continued demand for higher-capacity mobile hard disk drives. Regardless of the device, customers expect to be able to store and access their favorite content, applications, and key data wherever they are,” said John Rydning, research director at IDC.

Samples of Toshiba MLxx39GSL drives will be available for customer qualification in February.