Western Digital rolls out 320GB notebook hard drives

2.5-in. SATA drives expected to start shipping in systems by end of '07

Western Digital this week announced that it has begun shipping its new WD Scorpio 2.5-in. SATA hard drive to computer manufacturers.

The 9.5mm form-factor hard drive is capable of speeds of up to 5,400 RPM and features both one- and two-platter configurations capable of storing up to 320GB of data, said Western Digital officials.

The drive will be shipping in systems from PC manufacturers in December, said Cindi Grace, product marketing manager at Western Digital. She confirmed that Taiwanese PC maker Acer is now evaluating the new Scorpio hard drives.

The new model is the latest in the company's Scorpio line, which also features the perpendicular 160GB Scorpio laptop drive, which was introduced in 2006, and the 250GB Scorpio laptop drive, which shipped in May.

While all three models feature the same underlying architecture, the highest-capacity Scorpio includes a 3Gbit/sec. SATA interface. The older models were limited to 1.5Gbit/sec., according to Grace.

The new Scorpio is designed to accommodate the ever-increasing storage needs of notebook computers driven by, among other things, the expanding use of photos, videos and digital music. Grace said that notebooks are quickly displacing traditional desktop PCs as fixtures in homes for storing personal content and files.

"It's looking like people are willing to trade [notebook] performance for attributes that were important before, like power and acoustics," she remarked. "They want that small form factor in their home and the highest capacity available to store all their data."

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