Hitachi, Fujitsu launch similar 500GB mobile drives


— 12:55 PM on November 11, 2008

Seagate announced its first 500GB mobile hard drive with full-disk encryption capabilities yesterday, but its competitors haven't taken very long to retaliate. Both Hitachi and Fujitsu have now announced 500GB encrypted hard drives, and the two firms' offerings have head-scratchingly similar attributes.

Let's start with Hitachi. The company has unveiled two drives: the Travelstar E5K500.B and Travelstar 5K500.B, which both achieve 500GB capacities with only two platters. Both drives have 2.5" form factors, 5,400-RPM spindle speeds, 8MB cache sizes, and read/write power consumption ratings of only 1.4W. The E5K500.B sets itself apart from its sibling by offering bulk data encryption functionality, which supports pre-boot hardware authentication and can handle "up to four separate encrypted data ranges with multiple user and administrative authentication credentials."

Hitachi says the Travelstar 5K500.B will begin shipping across the globe in September, while the E5K500.B will show up at the end of the next calendar quarter.

Meanwhile, Fujitsu has also announced two new 2.5" mobile drives: the MJA2 BH and the encrypted MJA2 CH. Just like their Hitachi counterparts, these two offerings have capacities of up to 500GB, 5,400-RPM spindle speeds, 8MB caches, and 1.4W read/write power consumption ratings. Also, Fujitsu intends to ship the non-encrypted MJA2 BH in December and the encrypted MJA2 CH next quarter, mirroring Hitachi's launch schedule.

Separated at birth? Left: Hitachi's Travelstar 5K500.B. Right: Fujitsu's MJA2 BH. Source: Hitachi and Fujitsu.

Spec sheets for the two companies' drive series include slightly different figures for attributes like shock tolerance, and Hitachi doesn't offer an 80GB version of its new, non-encrypted drive like Fujitsu does. Still, the two lineups have a puzzling number of common traits. Perhaps this has something to do with that joint storage venture the two companies were considering earlier this year.

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