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Hitachi fires up second-generation terabyte hard drives


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San Jose (CA) – Hitachi renovated its 3.5” hard drive family and now offers the second-generation 1 TB drive, which does not offer more capacity or speed, but comes with effective power saving features that may allow storage farms to run these 3.5” drives at 2.5” power consumption rates.

On the surface, there is not much new about Hitachi’s new 3.5” 7K1000.B drive. In fact, the main difference to spot right away is the fact that the storage density has been increased substantially and Hitachi GST has joined the leading 3.5” vendors: Instead of five 200 GB disks, the new drive has three 333 GB disks. Hitachi representatives told TG Daily that the 5-disk model will continue to be available through 2009, but the 3-disk version will ramp quickly and replace the old drives.

What makes the new 7200 rpm drive interesting is not its performance or capacity (which theoretically could hit 1.6 TB in 5-disk models), but its power consumption.

Compared to the 8.4 watts the first-gen drive consumed in idle-mode, the B-model checks in at only 5.2 watts. And if power consumption is the primary concern of the user (such as data storage facilities), the drive supports a “reduced power idle state”: The disk rotation speed can be dropped via HDD commands to less than 5000 rpm, which will take the idle power consumption down to 2.4 watts That is close to 2.5” territory (about 2 – 2.2 watts) and could make these drives an interesting option for any environment that does not depend on maximum data transfer rates.

The price of the terabyte drive is substantially lower than what we paid last year. Hitachi said that the 7K1000.B is offered at $239.99 MSRP, which means that you should expect street prices not too far away from the $200 mark. The price is about in line with the competition: Samsung’s 1 TB drive, for example, is currently sold in a price range of $159 to $265, according to Pricegrabber.com.

Hitachi also offers an enterprise version of the 7K1000.B. For an extra $40, the E7K1000 comes with a larger (32 MB) buffer a higher reliability rating 1.2 million hour MTBF (there is no MTBF rating on the 7K1000.B) as well as a 5-year warranty instead of the 3-year warranty on the 7K1000.B.



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