Reprinted from a Hitachi press release:
Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Hitachi GST) today announced an expanded product line that will take on the 3.5-inch ATA hard drive segment with a three-prong, performance-focused approach. Hitachi is adding three new 7,200 RPM drives to its family of Deskstar products, targeting the broadest range of 3.5-inch consumer and commercial applications: mainstream PCs and workstations, digital video recorders (DVRs), nearline storage and other enterprise ATA applications.
The Hitachi drives being unveiled today include the industry’s first half terabyte (500 GB) Serial ATA (SATA) drive for audio/video and other capacity-intensive applications — the Deskstar 7K500. In the mid-range category, Hitachi offers the Deskstar T7K250, a two-disk, 250 GB product, while the Deskstar 7K80 rounds out the portfolio with an 80 GB offering, targeting the most popular capacity point. From industry-leading capacity to best-of-breed performance, Hitachi is also the first hard drive vendor to deliver all of the major design enhancements identified in the SATA II specification, including a 3 Gb/s data transfer rate increase across all three of the new drives. The new transfer rate represents a doubling of the previous SATA 1.0 rate and rivals that of enterprise-class SCSI drives.
The new Deskstar drives all feature a single-chip, native SATA chipset and Native Command Queuing (NCQ), which enables fast data transfer rates for enterprise ATA and other performance-based applications. NCQ is a method of controlling commands sent from the host processor to the drive to enable faster application activities for the end user.
Hitachi’s three new Deskstar drives meet the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) compliance directive recently issued by the European Union (EU). The EU directive requires electronics manufacturers to significantly reduce lead and other selected content from their products by August 2006. Hitachi recently announced that all Hitachi hard drive products introduced in 2005 and beyond will be RoHS compliant.
“The three Deskstar products announced today will help punctuate Hitachi’s leadership in the 3.5-inch ATA segment in capacity, performance and breadth of applications,” said Bill Healy, senior vice president, product strategy and marketing, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. “These new drives make up a comprehensive and diverse product line that will accelerate Hitachi’s growth into the highest-growth 3.5-inch hard drive segments — spanning the low to high-end and consumer to enterprise ATA applications.”
SATA 3 Gb/s Features
Hitachi has a demonstrated track record for delivering technology advancements that boost the performance characteristics of its hard disk drives. The 3Gb/s data transfer rate, which is available on all three of the new Deskstar drives, represents a doubling of the current industry-standard SATA interface speed. The performance breakthrough is expected to benefit customers that require fast data access for bandwidth-intensive applications, such as digital video editing and PC gaming.
Silicon Image has completed extensive interoperability and performance testing, which combined the new Deskstar drives with the company’s 3Gb/s SiI 3124-2 host controller and 3Gb/s SiI 3726 Port Multiplier. “Silicon Image is pleased to see the 3Gb/s Hitachi Deskstar drives delivering burst rate performance that is 61 percent faster than competitive SATA 1.0 products,” said Mark Hartney, Silicon Image’s SATA Evangelist. “We expect the benefit of this link speed increase to be most beneficial in demanding, high-bandwidth application environments.”
The drives include another key feature of SATA II, staggered spin-up. Staggered, or delayed, spin-up enables the host to individually “spin-up” drives in multi-drive configurations. This reduces the power draw of a booting system, enabling system designers to reduce the size of the power supply and minimize the total cost of ownership for end-users.
The new drives also include an error correction code feature that protects customer data throughout the drives’ circuits.
Smooth Stream Technology
The new drives are expected to fuel the growth of high-capacity DVRs, which require hard drives that are optimized for storing and retrieving digital video content. Hitachi has addressed this need by integrating its “Smooth Stream” technology into the new drives to enhance the video streaming functionality. Based on newly ratified ATA-7 AV Streaming Feature Set standard, Hitachi’s Smooth Stream enables the host to control the drive’s error recovery process. This feature tunes the drive to capture video data streams. Hitachi was the first hard drive vendor to integrate such a capability in its products.
“Hitachi’s new high-capacity drives allow DVR manufactures to expand the storage capacity of their products and incorporate innovative home media options, which enable users to store vast amounts of digital photos and music,” said John Donovan, Vice President of TrendFOCUS, a California-based research firm. “We expect these high-capacity DVRs to comprise the fastest-growing segment of the market, which is already growing at 90 percent annually.”
New Deskstar Drive Portfolio
Deskstar 7K500 — The Hitachi 7K500 offers 500 GB, the industry’s largest available capacity for high-end media center PCs, DVRs, nearline storage and other enterprise ATA applications. The SATA version of the drive ships with a large 16 MB buffer to deliver breakthrough performance for bandwidth-intensive applications. In addition to the complete set of SATA II features, the drive includes Rotational Vibration Safeguard (RVS), a technology used to ensure drive performance in high rotational vibration environments, where there are multiple drives in a single enclosure.
Deskstar T7K250 — The Deskstar T7K250 uses industry-leading areal densities to offer 250 GB of storage capacity in a two-disk design. The new drive is built on a proven architecture with demonstrated product quality and high performance. The Deskstar T7K250 continues this tradition, while adding SATA II features and Smooth Stream technology for use in DVR and other AV applications.
Deskstar 7K80 — The Deskstar 7K80, which will ship in 40 and 80 GB capacities, has been designed for high-volume manufacturing. It includes the key SATA II features — 3 Gb/s data transfer rate, NCQ and Staggered Spin-up. As with all the other models, the drive also includes Hitachi’s unique load/unload technology, which is a safety ramp for the read-write heads that protects user data in non-power mode.
SATA Interface Technology
SATA is a scalable interface technology that currently delivers a maximum data transfer rate of up to 1.5 Gb/s. Hitachi is expected to be first to ship second-generation SATA drives, which transfer data at 3 Gb/s.
SATA simplifies device configuration, improves data integrity and offers “hot-plug” capability, which enables the drives to be installed or removed while the host system remains operational. SATA drives enable a compact cabling structure with the smaller SATA connectors, thus enhancing air flow and reduce system complexity.
Hitachi includes a latching SATA connector on its new Deskstar drives, which is designed to prevent accidental disconnect due to shock or vibration.
Storage systems that integrate 3 Gb/s SATA-based components are expected to provide substantial performance for high data-throughput applications such as video editing, scientific calculations and CAD processing. Hitachi has been a leader in the transition to serial technologies and recently hosted a 3 Gb/s SATA demonstration at the Intel Developers Forum in San Francisco, CA.
Hitachi is currently shipping the Deskstar 7K80 and expects to begin shipping the Deskstar T7K250 and Deskstar 7K500 in Q1 2005.
In a related CES 2005 announcement today, Hitachi unveiled two new consumer-electronics-focused products planned for the latter half of this year: