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Western Digital Releases 5mm Hybrid HDD Targeting Ultrabook Placement

Western Digital has announced the release of the world’s thinnest 2.5″ hybrid drive. Targeted at Ultrabooks, the drive will weigh in at a mere 5mm thick, undercutting even the thinnest 7mm drives currently on the market. The new products will deliver up to 500GB of storage space and will be conducive to systems with severely cramped quarters. The drives should be available any day now from multiple notebook vendors, with Acer and Asus being among the first companies to incorporate the devices into their products.

Just when we thought Western Digital had shifted all its focus to magnetic storage, they pull a veritable rabbit out of the hat in the form of a hybrid HDD. And what a rabbit it is… By making a hybrid HDD available in an extra small 5mm form factor, WD has answered the wishes of some of the biggest OEM’s in making it easier for them to deliver unique and innovative designs. By reducing the area taken up by the storage component, WD has done just that and I’m sure Acer and Asus are only the first of many in the industry who simply can’t wait to get their hands on WD’s new offering. In delivering a combination of HDD capacity and SSD speed, they are providing both companies and consumers the best of both worlds and are helping to facilitate ever lower prices in what has been, from its inception, a very cutthroat market. Of course, this can only mean good things for consumers, as they can be sure that costs will be kept as low as possible.

Another aspect about this release that helps reduce prices is the fact that WD’s solution is completely self contained, allowing manufacturers to do away with the apparent mainstay that is SSD caching software. In addition to lowering costs, Western Digital’s new drives may also offer certain speed benefits over a software based solution, though any real world performance advantages will no doubt be directly linked to the size of the integrated cache. It’s true, if WD plays their cards right, they may just be able to give competing products, such as the Momentus XT, a run for their money. Also, by utilizing a completely hardware based design, notebook manufacturers make it easier for their customers to utilize alternative OS’s such as Linux and Mac OS X (I wonder how that would work? 🙂 ), while at the same time, eliminating any hardware compatibility issues that might crop up when using SSD caching software.

All in all, it appears that Western Digital is dead set on cementing its position as a major player in the Ultrabook storage sector. By releasing a small yet formidable hybrid HDD, they have all but stated their objective to pull out all the stops in their bid to take over the portable/ultraportable segment, and have put the the industry on notice. Along with Seagate, Western Digital is one of the last remaining original players in the magnetic storage industry. Unlike many new comers, WD has all the resources they need to really make their presence known. They’ve demonstrated their ability to adapt and now are intent on establishing themselves as a preeminent solution provider in this newly evolved market. I have to say, based on this latest release, it seems WD just re-affirmed their alpha status. You gotta love survival of the fittest!

See Press Release On Next page………

  • I have been waiting and waiting to buy new mech drives, not for my laptops but for my “big rig” desktop (3930K/R4E/GTX670FTW/fully liquid cooled/etc), as the stuff currently available just doesn’t seem worth the price, and the stuff that would be worthwhile is way too expensive (I’m looking at you, 500GB/1TB WD 10krpm Velociraptors!). The Momentus XT has long held my eye but just seems to fall short in that, even in RAID, you only get 16GB of NAND and 1.5TB of storage for $250….

    I will be going with a regular rotating disc drive (2x 1TB WD RE4’s when the 1TB platter drives arrive) for “storage-storage” such as movies, photos, etc, but I need a fast solution with large capacity and relatively low price as a “scratch drive/array”.
    I am really hoping that a drive becomes available, either 2.5 or 3.5, that has something like 1TB of storage on-disc using a single 1TB platter at 7200rpm with a 64-256MB regular Cache, as well as a “smart NAND Cache” of 16-32GB per drive, and fully-enabled TLER for actual, real, RAID functionality.
    When a drive like that becomes available, and is less than the cost of a 1TB drive + equal-size SSD, I will buy 2 of them right off the bat for RAID0 and if they survive a few months of HEAVY usage, I will continue to expand the array up to 6 discs for a 5 disc RAID5 array with 1 hotswap spare, and I will buy the same drives in 2-3TB capacities for two 8-disc NAS’s RAID5 arrays.

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