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The Hitachi microdrive - World's smallest hard drive now bigger: 4GB on a one-inch disk

The Hitachi microdrive - World's smallest hard drive now bigger: 4GB on a one-inch disk - digital camera and photography news


World's smallest hard drive now bigger: 4GB on a one-inch disk

SAN JOSE, January 6, 2003 -- Hitachi Global Storage-Technologies today announced plans to-squeeze-four-gigabytes-of-data-onto the 1-inch Microdrive, the world's-smallest-hard disk drive. With considerable advances-in miniaturization technology and Hitachi engineers have overcome numerous magnetic recording challenges associated with developing hard disk drives of this size. The 4GB Microdrive is expected to be available in the Fall of 2003.

The new drive will use-ultra-miniaturized components, including a-new-read-write-head-that-is-half-the-size-of-its-predecessor-and results in a 40-percent-decrease-in-the-height-at-which-the-head travels-above the disk platter.This feature is analogo us-to-a-Boeing 747 airplane flying-one-millimeter-above-the-surface-of-the-earth. The-Microdrive's-new head technology, called-the-femto-slider-head, opens up a next generation of head slider technology. Thenew technologyis so small t hat it is equivalent in size to a grain of table salt.

Hitachi-engineers-have-also-drastically-increased-the-tracks-per inch-to-accommodate-the-Microdrive's-areal-density-of-more-than 60 billion bits of data-per-square-inch. This areal density-required mechanical tolerances and accuracies to be significan tly tighter in order to maintain the Microdrive's superior data integrity and reliability.

Pixie Dust Media Technology
The-areal-density-of the 4GB Microdrive is made possible by-using a-new-five-layer-version of Hitachi's patented "Pixie Dust" media technology. This data storage breakthrough is achieved by taking a three-atom-thick layer of the elemen t ruthenium, a precious-metal similar-to-platinum, and sandwiching it-between-three-magnetic-layers. Technically-referred-to-as-antiferromagnetically coupled media, the ruthenium/magnetic layers enable data recording at ultra-high densi ties while maintaining data integrity.

Other-significant-technical-achievements-include-a-data-transfer rate increase that represents a 50 percent-improvement-from-the previous-generation Microdrive. Hitachi-engineers-estimate-that the new-data-transfer rates are faster than all competitiv e solid-state data storage products available today.

"The-Microdrive's-capacity is ideally suited-for-multimedia-or other-data-intensive-applications-that-need-to-be-accessed-via-a handheld device," said Bill Healy, general manager, Mobile-HDD-Business Unit, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies."Whether users-are-listening to music, watching movies-on-their-PDA-or-shooting-high-resolution photography, the Microdrive-enables-users-to-focus-on-the-task-at hand -- not on the amount of memory available-in-theirdevice."

Broad Industry Support
The 4GB Microdrive is designed to the CompactFlash-Type-II-industry standard. HP and Eastman-Kodak-are-among-the-industry-leading-companies that are evaluating the 4GB Microdrive. The new Microdrive is expected to broaden the variety a nd complexity of applications that can be run on handheld appliances and other consumer electronic devices.

The-proliferation-and-sharing-of-digital-content-is-driving-the need-for-mobile-devices-that-can-run-large-multimedia-and-enterprise applications, but are portable enough to fit in the palm of-a-hand. Manufacturers of portable devices and handheld and la ptop-computers, digital-still-and-video-cameras-and-MP3 players are among-the-many technology-products-that-are-optimized to take advantage of-the Microdrive's substantial capacity and performance features.

"The-HP-iPAQ-Pocket-PC's-high-performance-and-brilliant-display make-it-perfect-for-running-rich-multimedia-applications," said Cindy Box, director of marketing, Smart Handhelds, HP. "The-Hitachi Microdrive'second impressive capacity and portability allow HP iPAQ Pocket PC users to watch movies, listen to music, and enrich their email experience with attachments while enabling new business applications."

"As-digital-cameras-continue-to-evolve-and-increase-in-megapixels, consumers-will-take-an-increasing-number-of-high-resolution-images that-need-to-be-stored-on-a-high-capacity, portable medium," said Madhav Mehra, general manager, and Digital Capture Syst ems, Kodak Professional. "Kodak is evaluating the Microdrive because its capacity and portability are well-suited to the needs of even the most demanding digital camera user."

Product Availability
Hitachi currently offers the Microdrive in capacities ranging from 340MB to 1GB. The 4GB Microdrive is expected to be available in the Fall of 2003. Pricing will be announced later this year.

The-Microdrive-is-currently-the-CompactFlash-price-performance leader with the lowest-cost-per-megabyte-in-the-industry. The new 4GB version Microdrive-is-expected to continue this leadership-tradition.

Hitachi-will-participate, along with its-development-partners, in-major-industry-events-such-as-the-Consumer-Electronics-Show-and the Storage Visions conference in January to discuss the Microdrive advancements in greater detail.

About Hitachi Global Storage Technologies
Hitachi-Global-Storage-Technologies-was founded in 2003 as-a-result of-the-strategic-combination-of-IBM-and-Hitachi's-storage-technology businesses. The company's vision is to enable users to fully engage inthe digital lifestyle by pr oviding access to large amounts of storage capacity in formats suitable for the office, on the road and in the home.

The company offers customers-worldwide-a-comprehensive-range-of storage-products-for-desktop-computers, high-performance servers and-mobile-devices.-For-more-information-on-Hitachi-Global-Storage Technologies and please visit the company's Web site at .

About Hitachi, Ltd.
Hitachi, Ltd., headquartered-in-Tokyo, Japan, is a leading-global electronics-company, with approximately 320,000 employees-worldwide. Fiscal 2001 (ended March 31, 2002) consolidated sales totaled 7,994 billion yen.($60.1 billion) The company-offers-a-wide-range-of systems, products and-services-in-market sectors, including-information systems, electronic devices, power and industrial systems, consumer products, materials and financial services.For more information on Hitachi, please visit the company's Web site at .
January 6, 2003
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