Tiny Toshiba Drives Offer Big Storage

SAN FRANCISCO (05/15/2000) - Hard drive manufacturers keep stuffing more and more data into smaller drives. That's hardly anything new, right? But Toshiba America Information Systems Inc. is bringing small drives even further down to size. Last week, the company rolled out what it claims are the highest-capacity small drives available.

Toshiba's first 1.8-inch drive holds 2GB and is scheduled to ship in July. The company also introduced a trio of 2.5-inch drives with capacities of 6-, 10-, and 20GB, which will be available later in May.

The single-platter 1.8-inch MK2001MP, which weighs just under 2 ounces, is small enough to fit in a Type II PC Card, allowing both the drive and another PC Card, such as a modem, to be used at the same time. (Other high-capacity PC Card drives are Type III, filling up both PC Card slots found on a typical notebook PC.)But with its standard EIDE interface, Toshiba envisions a wide range of applications for the 1.8-inch drive. It could be used in handheld mobile terminals as well as a host of consumer digital products, from video and still cameras to music players.

The drive spins at 4200 rotations per minute and can, according to the company, resist shocks of up to 1000 g's (when turned off). It's compatible with the UltraDMA/66 interface. But, at least initially, it won't be inexpensive.

Manufacturers have to pay $740 for production samples of the drive. The price, however, is expected to fall as production ramps up.

Big Notebook Drives

Toshiba claims the three 2.5-inch notebook drives it introduced have the highest data density of any drive currently available, packing data at 17.6 gigabits per square inch, a term known as areal density.

The MK6015GAP holds 6GB, the MK1026GAP 10GB, and the MK2016GAP 20GB. All are less than an inch high and weigh about 3 ounces. They spin at 4200 rpm and can withstand shocks of up to 800 g's.

A Toshiba spokesperson declined to discuss pricing on the 2.5-inch drives.

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