Western Digital has finally launched their 5mm drives that we spoke about at last year's IDF these are the 2.5" drives that are 500GB and come in WD Blue and WD Black, with the Black being a hybrid SSHD drive and the Blue being just a regular hard drive. We had a chance to get a second glance at these drives back at CES this year and we even got a glimpse of what's to come with 1TB 7mm drives as well.
The beauty of these 5mm drives is that they enable devices like tablets and Ultrabooks as well as Ultrathins to be able to pack lots of storage within a very thin 2.5" form factor. The drives themselves are designed to be very quiet and shock resistant up to 400 and 1000G when not under operation. The drives themselves also use a new type of connector for 2.5" hard drives, SFF-8784, which is a connector about the size of a thumbnail built into the drive's PCB.
The drives also utilize StableTrac which means that the motor is secured in a way that reduces vibration and stabilized the platters for more accurate tracking when reading and writing to the surface. This potentially increases reliability and speed and is complemented by the dual stage actuator which is a two stage actuator design that enables one actuator to roughly find the location of the disk to write to while the second fine tunes the second stage of movement to find the precise location needed.
The WD Blue 2.5" 5mm drive, which is 500GB, will be selling for an MSRP of $89 and the WD Black 2.5" 5mm drive will be selling to OEMs and system integrators. This means that we probably won't be able to get our hands on one of these drives in stores any time soon. This could possibly be because Western Digital will likely follow these drives up with their 1TB 7mm variants, which may be more attractive to customers looking to upgrade their Ultrabooks from a 64GB or 128GB SSD to a 1TB SSHD. Many will likely appreciate the huge increase in capacity and not likely notice much of a performance drop, if any.
Note that the 1TB 7mm drives feature 24GB of NAND flash cache
While we are sure that these drives are incredibly thin, we're interested to see who will begin implementing them first and to see who goes with the WD Black 2.5" 500GB 5mm drives in their ultrathin laptops and Ultrabooks. There's a good chance that we'll probably see a ton of them for this back-to-school season, but until then we're probably going to be left guessing.
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