Hitachi debuts ultra-thin 7mm HDD products

Hitachi has unveiled its Z-Series line of ultrathin 2.5-inch hard disk drives that are just 7mm thick, aimed at being used in personal portable devices as well as all the way up to the enterprise level.

The Japanese manufacturer wants to replace its 9.5mm HDD lineups with the slimmer 7mm drives.  Hitachi will release CinemaStar and TravelStar 7mm drives with 160GB, 250GB and 320GB storage capacities.  Specifically, the company’s 7mm lineup will launch with two TravelStar and one CinemaStar HDDs, with additional announcements expected before the end of 2010.

Hitachi debuts ultra-thin 7mm HDD products

The CinemaStar Z5K320 HDD is a 7mm HDD for use in set-top boxes, DVRs and other streaming products.  The HDD has 8MB cache, 3Gb/s SATA, and 5,400rpm — Hitachi will also add energy efficiency features into the drives.

Hitachi’s TravelStar Z5K320 HDD features 3Gb/s SATA, 8MB cache, and 5,400rpm speed.  It uses 0.55 watts when idle, and just 1.6 watts when in use, but is still designed as the more energy-efficient, lower-end 7mm drive.

Hitachi’s flagship HDD will be the 7mm TravelStar Z7K320 HDD.  It will become the first drive in the industry that is 2.5-inch, 7mm but spins at 7,200rpm.  It has 16MB cache, 3Gb/s SATA, and offers 18% faster operating speed than the TravelStar Z5K320 model.

The Japanese company anticipates all three drives will be able to offer performance speeds near flash-based solid state drives — but at a significantly lower cost.

It’s an interesting move by Hitachi since the 7mm drives will be available for netbooks and tablets all of the way up to servers.  Ideally, the new drives will be able to help keep machines cooler than larger 9.5mm drives that are currently used in systems today.