Samsung unveils proper 2.5-inch 500GB hard drive

— 6:00 AM on March 10, 2008

At long last, a hard drive manufacturer has released a 500GB mobile hard drive based on the "proper" 2.5-inch form factor. Both Fujitsu and Hitachi claimed to do so when they introduced their respective 500GB mobile drives earlier this year, but those drives are actually thicker than normal—12.5 mm instead of 9.5 mm. In both cases, the thickness stems from a brute force approach of using three platters instead of two, and it likely impedes compatibility with many laptops.

In an interesting turn of events, Samsung has taken the same approach as its Japanese competitors—squeezing three platters in each drive instead of two—all the while managing to conserve the same thickness as other, two-platter 2.5" drives. Indeed, Samsung boasts that the new 500GB Spinpoint M6 "consists of three 167GB platters in a 2.5" hard drive frame measuring just 9.5mm in height," a thickness the company adds is the "industry's standard."

Like its fatter Hitachi cousin, the Spinpoint M6 has a 5400RPM spindle speed, 8MB of cache, and a 300MB/s Serial ATA interface. Those specifications should make the Korean newcomer faster than Fujitsu's 500GB offering, whose platters only revolve at 4200RPM. Additionally, Samsung says the new Spinpoint has an optional free-fall-sensor that should (hopefully) help avoid monumental data loss should its host device fall while operating. The Spinpoint M6 is already shipping, and Samsung gives it a suggested retail price of $299. (Thanks to Gizmag for the heads-up.)

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