Quarter-terabyte notebook hard drives announced by Hitachi

Hitachi outdoes itself... againJust when you thought that 160GB 2.5in notebook hard disk you bought was the latest and greatest (it happened to me this week, OK) Hitachi announces it will be releasing a 250GB disk soon.Tech buying regret can be a painful thing. It wouldn’t be so bad if laptop hard drive space wasn’t so precious and expensive. Hard drive size limitations are one of the only things standing in the way of notebooks being absolutely fully-fledged desktop replacements now.

I use a notebook full-time but I’m constantly shuffling stuff off to external disks, deleting or burning TV episodes I’ve watched, or considering whether I should be deleting duplicate pics from my digital photo library to make room for a new virtualised operating system image.

Hitachi is predicting that the 250GB 2.5in HD will ship in the second half of next year. It will be pre-empted by a 200GB disk in the first half. It will certainly make life much easier for me, especially for dual-booting operating systems (using Boot Camp on my MacBook Pro with Vista on one partition and OS X on the other is only just viable on 160GB.)

Hitachi also says that by 2010, notebook hard drives should be in the 750GB range and cites IDC statistics predicting that by then, annual notebook drive sales will have doubled from their current 118 million to 224 million.

Of even more interest is the fact that all the drives Hitachi ships from 2007 onwards will feature hardware-level encryption as a standard feature, creating “virtually impenetrable” security, according to the company. Both the drive’s firmware and the data on the disk itself will be encrypted with AES and presumably linked to a Trusted Platform Module on the PC motherboard so the drive can’t be read in another PC.

The company claims this will come at “little to no impact” on system speed.

Hitachi also said it would release flash/magnetic hybrid drives in 2007.


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