Notwithstanding the acknowledged virtues of solid state storage, I remain a fan of hard disk drive technology for its much more favorable cost/capacity ratio and its management tractability, with hybrid drive technologies a la Apple’s Fusion Drive option probably constituting a balanced sweet spot.
So I’m delighted by WD’s announcement this week that it’s shipping the world’s first ultra-slim 2.5-inch, 5 mm hard drives and solid state hybrid drives (SSHD) designed for integration into the slimmest devices and space-constrained computing environments. I’d love to see Apple offer the WD Black SSHD as an option to SSDs in the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.
With 500 GB of storage capacity and models with high performance-enabling solid state hybrid drive technology, WD’s new slim product line helps to address the tradeoffs system designers often make between capacity, physical size and performance.
“With the launch of our new WD Blue 5 mm ultra slim hard drives and our WD Black SSHD products, currently shipping to OEMs, WD is delivering to our customers a variety of solutions that maximize storage capacity and volumetric efficiency, as well as performance and system responsiveness, for consumers,” says Matt Rutledge, vice president of WDs client computing business unit. “Our engineering team took a clean-sheet approach with 5 mm to deliver an ultra-thin hard drive that enables a world of possibilities and applications for mobile computing and beyond.”
WD designed the new WD Blue and WD Black 5 mm drives to enable new levels of device portability. The new drives are aimed to increase internal storage capacity while enabling it to fit into smaller device slots. In addition, the slimmer and more portable the device, the more vulnerable the hard drive is to user-induced stress. To address this, WD has designed key enablers to the 5 mm form factor:
• Ultra-slim Form Factor
- 5 mm height with compact connector offers system designers a greater degree of chassis design freedom. This ultra-slim form factor reduces weight by up to 36 percent compared with a standard 9.5 mm drive.
Best-in-class Acoustics and Shock
- WD’s best-in-class acoustics use technologies that reduce noise when the drive is active or idle. The WD Blue and WD Black 5 mm drives deliver operation and non-operation shock specifications with 400 G and 1000G, respectively.
• Edge Card Technology
- WD designed the connector and board utilizing cell phone miniaturization technology to maximize the mechanical sway space in the hard drive and ensure shock performance.
• Edge Card Connector
- WD Blue 5 mm hard drives also feature the first application of a new small form factor SFF-8784 edge connector. This new connector receives power from and interfaces with the host I/O bus via the SATA interface connector SFF-8784.
- The motor shaft is secured at both ends to reduce system-induced vibration and stabilize platters for accurate tracking during read and write operations which enables consistently higher performance.
• Dual Stage Actuator
- Leading-edge enterprise dual stage actuators provide two actuators that improve positional accuracy over the data track(s). The primary actuator provides coarse displacement using conventional electromagnetic actuator principles. The secondary actuator uses piezoelectric motion to fine tune the head positioning to a higher degree of accuracy.
Shipping now to select industrial distributors and OEM customers in 500 GB capacities, WD Blue 2.5-inch 5 mm hard drives, (model: WD5000MPCK) have a Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $89.00 USD. WD Blue 2.5-inch 5 mm hard drives are covered by a two-year limited warranty.
WD Black SSHD versions are currently shipping to OEMs and integrators with both WD proprietary hybrid technology and industry standard SATA I/O technology. More information on WD Blue 2.5-inch 5 mm hard drives may be found on the company’s website at: