Seagate announces hybrid, encrypted 2.5" drives

Seagate has announced a host of new 2.5" notebook hard drives scheduled for release in early 2007. The drives include a hybrid model with integrated flash memory dubbed Momentus 5400 PSD, or Power-Saving Drive. This hybrid drive sports 256 MB of non-volatile cache, storage capacity up to 160 GB, and a 5400 RPM spindle speed. As expected with all hybrid drives, the added flash memory should help cut down boot times, improve battery life, and enhance reliability. Hybrid storage may become a big selling point for future notebooks running Windows Vista, because the upcoming operating system implements full hybrid hard drive support via Microsoft's ReadyDrive technology. Other drive manufacturers, including Samsung, are also due to join the hybrid bandwagon.

Leaving hybrid storage aside, Seagate has also announced a Momentus 5400.2 FDE hard drive. In this instance, the three-letter suffix stands for Full Disc Encryption, The Momentus 5400.2 FDE will encrypt data across the entire disk via a 128-bit Advanced Encryption Standard cipher, storing cryptographic keys right in the drive. Users will be able to unlock the 5400.2 FDE's encrypted data via a password, fingerprint, or smart card check before operating system bootup. Seagate says the 5400.2 FDE's encryption speed "matches the throughput of the drive interface to preserve system performance," which suggests that there will be no performance hit from doing real-time encryption on the drive.

Finally, Seagate will also be introducing a new 7200-RPM notebook drive next year under the Momentus 7200.2 moniker. Like the existing Momentus 5400.3, the Momentus 7200.2 will use perpendicular magnetic recording to achieve capacities up to 160 GB, but this time with a higher spindle speed. Seagate claims the Momentus 7200.2 will offer "true desktop PC performance" in a variety of applications, from laptops to workstations and RAID enclosures.

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