WD ships 320GB-per-platter 3.5-inch hard drive

Hard drive maker Western Digital has reached a new milestone by starting volume shipments of a 3.5" desktop hard drive with what it claims is the industry's highest areal density. The drive packs a whopping 320GB of storage capacity per platter using the same technology Western Digital has already applied to its existing 320GB Scorpio 2.5" notebook hard drive. (The 320GB Scorpio has two 160GB platters.)

WD is introducing the new 320GB platters in a 3.5" Caviar-series desktop hard drive that features a capacity of only 320GB. The drive has a 7,200 RPM spindle speed, 16MB of cache, and support for 300MB/s Serial ATA transfer speeds as well as Native Command Queuing. According to WD, users should be able to find the new Caviar on store shelves immediately.

Looking forward, WD plans to push 320GB platters into additional capacities among its desktop, enterprise, consumer electronics, and external hard drive lineups throughout the year. With 320GB per platter, WD could produce a 1.28-terabyte hard drive with just four platters.

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