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Western Digital Releases 5mm Hybrid HDD Targeting Ultrabook Placement

WD® Creates World’s Thinnest 2.5-inch Hybrid Hard Drive

New 5 mm Standard Slashes Storage Footprint by Almost 50% Compared to Traditional 2.5-inch Hard Drives


IRVINE, Calif. “ Sept. 10, 2012 “ WD®, a subsidiary of Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) today announced it is sampling a 5mm-thin hard disk drive featuring hybrid technology. WD has developed hard drives slim enough for integration into todays thinnest notebook PCs, which provide high-capacity storage and robustness while featuring instant-on and application performance similar to todays client solid state drives (SSDs). The new technologies will be showcased during WDs Investor Day, Sept. 13, 2012.

Mobile devices are becoming smaller, thinner, lighter and more responsive, said Matt Rutledge, vice president of client storage solutions at WD. Working with our technology partners, WD has developed new 5 mm hard drives that enable high capacity storage along with excellent performance and superior economics to allow our customers to expand their thin offerings.

With device volumetric efficiency a key concern for system makers, WD began shipping 7 mm height hard drives for thin-profile notebooks earlier this year (historically, standard notebook hard drives have been 9.5 mm). WD 5 mm hybrid hard drives will enable the markets thinnest computers to offer 500 GB of capacity, utilizing almost 50% less volume compared to current 9.5 mm hard drives and at one tenth the cost of similar capacity SSDs.

Acer is partnering with WD to bring advanced notebook performance and capacity in the smallest form factor, said David Lee, associate vice president of Mobile Computing Product business unit at Acer. Its a part of our ongoing commitment to present leading technology that ultimately improves the total user experience of our customers.

We are seeing a shift in the computing world to more powerful mobile computing solutions, said SY Shain, senior vice president of ASUS notebook business unit. With this in mind, ASUS and WD are collaborating to create slimmer and more mobile notebook solutions ” without sacrificing capacity or performance ” to deliver smaller form-factor to consumers.

Hybrid Technology and Client Tiered Storage
WDs innovative hybrid technology pairs MLC NAND flash storage for fast SSD-like data throughput and instant-on responsiveness with magnetic disks for efficient, high-capacity storage. Similar to the practice of multi-million dollar enterprise systems, WDs hybrid technology utilizes the concept of tiered storage. Data accessed most frequently (often referred to as hot data) is managed using speedy NAND flash to ensure fast response times, while data accessed less often (cold data) resides on the robust magnetic disks. The tiered design of hybrid hard drives, compared to current dual-drive solutions, also provides a redundancy benefit for users. The magnetic disk backs up all files residing in the NAND, protecting the user from inevitable NAND wear and preserving it for the more hot data handling. WDs hybrid technology works in conjunction with the PC operating system to deliver higher performance than current hybrid offerings while minimizing NAND wear to allow the use of less expensive MLC NAND.

Hybrid hard drives combine NAND flash and magnetic disks, simplifying storage-element integration for OEM customers and providing a host of end user benefits: superior performance, responsiveness, lower power consumption, greater operating shock tolerance, and data protection. And unlike dual-drive designs, WDs hybrid technology provides single-unit design homogeneity that OEM system manufacturers have long sought from the storage industry.

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Nick Leksan

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… Read more »