It seems that before mechanical HDDs give their last hurrah, some companies will still push the envelope in terms of engineering. Hitachi has launched a revamped version of its Travelstar Z7K500 slim 2.5-inch HDD, tailored to the needs of the Ultrabook.
This new-and-improved Travelstar belongs to the ‘7mm thick’ family of slim mobile storage products. The drive packs 500GB of data into a 7200rpm platter with 32MB of cache attached to it and is mounted on a SATA 6 Gb/s interface, making it just about the fastest thing short of an SSD to populate the entrails of a computer or Ultrabook, if you can swallow Hitachi’s line on how Intel’s Ultrabook design spec is the best thing since butter on toast.
According to the company, the Travelstar Z7K500 will work its magic best when coupled with an Ultrabook with an SSD cache, Intel’s own recipe for improving OS boot times and overall system performance.
However, the SSD cache has only been adopted by a couple of vendors, most likely in an attempt to keep costs down on these slim notebooks.
Of course, we’d like to point out the fact that the word Ultrabook pops up ten times in the press release in no way bars you from adopting this hard-drive for any slim mobile device.
The drive is also available in 250GB and 320GB versions, as well as a self-encrypting option. Hitachi, having been wise enough to add a SATA 6Gb/s interface and doubling the cache on the model to 32MB, guarantees better performance out of the box than everyone else in the business.
Right now the only alternative are Seagate’s Momentus Thin HDDs, that offer less cache and smaller capacities than Hitachi. Shipments of the drive begin next month, but pricing, as the OEM-oriented product that it is, is unavailable.