Seagate to ship 120GB notebook hard drives in June

Seagate will this June start shipping a new range of 2.5-inch drives for notebook PCs as the company attempts to triple its share of the market.

Seagate Technology will this June start shipping a new range of 2.5-inch hard-disk drives for the notebook PC market. The range contains a number of industry firsts that promise consumers a combination of better performance and storage capacity compared to the company's existing models, it said at a news conference in Tokyo on Tuesday.

The Momentus-branded hard drive series includes a 120G-byte drive that spins at 5,400 rpm and a 100G-byte drive that spins at 7,200 rpm. This is the first time notebook drives with these combinations of rotational speeds and capacities have been announced by Seagate, according to Mark Walker manager of product marketing at the company.

The new range of drives comes in three series that cover the high-performance, mid-range, and value notebook PC markets respectively, Walker said.

The 7200.1 series offers drives with 40G-byte, 60G-byte and 80G-byte capacities as well as the 100G-byte version. All the drives in this series run at 7,200rpm.

The 5400.2 series offers drives at 30G-byte, 40G-byte, 60G-byte, 80G-byte and 100G-byte capacities as well as the 120G-byte version, and all the drives run at 5,400rpm.

The 4200.2 series also has the same six capacities as the 5400.2 series, but the drives run at 4,200rpm, the company said.

Both the 7200.1 and the 5400.2 series will be available with Parallel ATA or Serial ATA interfaces, while the 4200.2 series will only be available with the Parallel ATA interface, the company said.

Most notebook drives run at 5,400rpm and the 7200.1 series drives will offer noticeably better performance for users, Walker said.

For example, notebook PCs with Seagate's 7200.1 drives will typically boot up Windows XP about 20 percent faster than the same PCs with the company's 5400.2 series drives, he said.

Performance will come at a price, though. The 7,200rpm drives will cost about 50 percent more than the company's 5,400rpm drives, Walker said. He did not disclose specific prices for any of the drives.

A number of PC vendors including Hewlett-Packard Co, Dell, Acer and Lenovo Group are testing the new range of drives, Walker said.

Seagate hopes these new drives will help the company to triple its share of the growing global market for notebook PC drives to about 30 percent within three years, Walker said.

As price and performance differences between notebook PCs and older desktop PCs are narrowing, more people are replacing their desktop PCs with notebook PCs instead of buying desktop PCs, and this trend is boosting demand for 2.5-inch drives.

The number of 2.5 inch drives shipped in 2004 grew nearly 20 percent compared to 2003, and the market should grow about 20 percent again to reach nearly 67 million units this year, Walker said.

Seagate had an 11 percent share of the market for 2.5-inch drives during the first three months of 2005, behind Hitachi Global Storage Technologies with 34 percent, Fujitsu with 25 percent, and Toshiba with 22 percent, according to estimates provided by Seagate.

"We are number four right now but we want to be in the top three," Walker said.