Toshiba crams 320GB into new 1.8-inch hard drive

Hard-drive makers don’t just ramp capacities in their 3.5" and 2.5" products—teeny 1.8" drives are also quietly growing in storage density. This morning, Toshiba announced a new 1.8" mechanical hard drive lineup, the MK3233GSG series, which combines capacities of up to 320GB with 5,400-RPM spindle speeds and Serial ATA interfaces.

Toshiba aims these puppies at "thin and light mobile PCs and portable external hard disk drives." The company boasts about having reached a platter density of 516 gigabits per square inch, which is purportedly the industry’s highest for 1.8" hard drives.

MK3233GSG products include a single-platter 160GB offering as well as dual-platter 250GB and 320GB models, all with the same rotational speed and 16MB caches. The latter two drives have 19-dB seek noise levels, while the 160GB variant pulls off seeking while generating just 17 dB. Power consumption amounts to 1.3W during seeks for all three drives.

Toshiba expects to start mass-producing MK3233GSG hard drives in December. It doesn’t quote pricing, but for reference, the firm’s current 1.8" 250GB drive costs around $150 right now.

Comments closed
    • Kurotetsu
    • 11 years ago

    It’d be nice if these could run straight off USB power.

      • adisor19
      • 11 years ago

      They do run straight off USB power. All you need is a SATA to USB case for them.

      Adi

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 11 years ago

      There are a handful of 1.8″ external USB drives. Unfortunately, they aren’t terribly standardized and tend to command quite a price premium.

      But really, if they’d just put the darn things in MP3 players, that would be close enough for me, since that’s plenty of extra space to back stuff up to. A lot of what I want to preserve or transfer around is audio and video, anyways, as I’m sure is the case with many people.

    • Farting Bob
    • 11 years ago

    Id like to see a low cost netbook with one of these rather than the older 160G 2.5″ drives most have. It uses less power, weighs less and with that density should be notably faster, all without the cost of getting a proper SSD.

      • Synchromesh
      • 11 years ago

      That might double the price of the netbook since these drives are not cheap. Also, not so long ago they were far less unreliable than their 2.5in and 3.5in brethren. I wonder how much better they’ve gotten by now.

    • adisor19
    • 11 years ago

    Cool, so expect iPod classic and MacBook Air to come with the new 160GB 5400-rpm drive soon after December.

    Quite a bit of an upgrade compared to the sad excuse of the 120GB 4200-rpm current model drives.

    Adi

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 11 years ago

      I can’t imagine they’d put a 5,400 RPM drive in an MP3 player. I’d want a slower one so that the battery lasts. It’s not as if they’ll have trouble streaming anything with that sort of density.

      But it’s cool, nonetheless. I’m lost as to why flash drives are so prevalent with the newer players that have been making HD video a priority. It makes me immediately lose interest in any of them I hear about when I find out there’s no HDD option, which has universally been the case, as of late.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 11 years ago

        You can thank the touchscreen craze, HDs don’t work in capacitive touchscreen devices.

          • OneArmedScissor
          • 11 years ago

          Good point, sir. I don’t really consider touch screens of any importance when I’m looking at what’s out there. But everyone just has to have one now…bleh.

          The Archos media tablets have touch screens and several SSD or HDD options, but they also use 2.5″ drives and are more like dinky computers.

          My old MP3 player has a 2.5″ drive, and that didn’t bother me, since the capacity was enormous compared to anything else affordable. That has changed very much, though.

          However, at this point, I’d feel very dumb spending hundreds of dollars on something that is effectively the worst of both worlds (too heavy and large to always have in my pocket, but with too small of a screen to actually use it in place of a computer). I’d rather buy a netbook. They’re about the same price as it is.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 11 years ago

            Yeah I’m not too much in to the touchscreen craze either especially for media players.

          • adisor19
          • 11 years ago

          I’m sure with proper shielding they work just fine. It’s probably that manufacturers find that the advantages of flash far outweighs the advantages of micro HDs.

          Adi

            • MadManOriginal
            • 11 years ago

            Despite the size increase, er, back to the iPod’s old capacity that you mentioned in post #15? Seems like you’re saying two different things.

            Anyhow I don’t have any particular references but it’s just something I’ve seen mentioned numerous times. Maybe it has something to do with grounding? I’m not sure…but aside from battery life there aren’t any huge advantages to flash.

            • adisor19
            • 11 years ago

            Size comes to mind. A little flash chip is a fraction of the size of this micro HD and it also consumes much less power.

            Adi

            • MadManOriginal
            • 11 years ago

            I wrote ‘huge’ advantages specifically because I didn’t want to list out a bunch of minor differences…the size differences in full-sized players between a HD and flash is not huge and it’s not like we’re talking about big devices to start. ooo .3″ or less, big deal. Of course for the smaller devices flash makes more sense. And I did specifically mention battery life. I just think you were stretching to make a reply :p

            • adisor19
            • 11 years ago

            Guilty as charged 😀

            Adi

            • odizzido
            • 11 years ago

            Huge advantage: Flash is far more durable.

            • OneArmedScissor
            • 11 years ago

            That’s an enormous generalization. You have no farkin clue what they’re putting in those things.

            I’d bet my bottom dollar it’s not the good stuff.

            • UberGerbil
            • 11 years ago

            But it’s snApple — they use the greatest stuff on earth!

            • MadManOriginal
            • 11 years ago

            I guess that’s important if you’re in the habit of tossing about your electronics. *But you’re right it is an advantage, how major really depends upon the user.

            • OneArmedScissor
            • 11 years ago

            I have a sneaking suspicion it’s more a matter of forced obsolescence, so that they can keep people buying MP3 players at regular intervals.

            As people slowly but surely fill their flash MP3 players, flash capacity slowly inches up over time.

            Platter density, however, is practically exploding in comparison, which was not the case, say, 5 years ago. Even if the density was increasing at the same rate back then, it was not adding so many more GBs every few months, as is the case now.

            Flash is still at relatively low capacities and can only double from there every two years. The manufactureres must love sticking everyone with that.

          • ludi
          • 11 years ago

          What’s the reason for that?

            • MadManOriginal
            • 11 years ago

            Not sure, I did some brief searching but couldn’t find anything. It’s something I’ve seen written in multiple places and not just by random people but I can’t recall any specific explanation.

            • ludi
            • 11 years ago

            I guess can kind of see how either the rotating disk or the voice coil assembly might generate small levels of time-varying magnetic field extending out past the screen, which could leave residual charge on the screen and disrupt its function, but it seems like a bit of shielding should be enough to solve it.

            • UberGerbil
            • 11 years ago

            There are lots of all-in-one Point of Sale systems that cram a full system behind a touch screen (usually resistive, but sometimes capacitive, and occasionally something else entirely). None AFAIK have any issues with the HD, but obviously they could have some sort of shielding in place (I’ve been in the guts of these things in the past and didn’t see anything like that, but I wasn’t really looking either). It’s certainly not an issue I’ve ever heard of.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 11 years ago

            If it’s a grounding issue it would explain why a grounded POS could use capacitive + HD but a portable device couldn’t.

        • jdaven
        • 11 years ago

        Well these drives are 1.3W. What is the power use of the 4200RPM drives?

      • UberGerbil
      • 11 years ago

      I seriously doubt Apple is going to put a higher-rpm drive in the iPod. Higher capacity, sure, but higher speed? What’s the point? To play your music /[

        • adisor19
        • 11 years ago

        The 160GB drive is more expensive but it also offers a drop in replacement for the older drive. While the improved RPM speed won’t make a difference on the iPod Classic, it will offer 40GB of extra space and i’m sure there are users out there need it.

        Adi

        • FuturePastNow
        • 11 years ago

        It would allow a faster user interface. Display lots of cover art faster, scroll through huge lists faster, etc. So they might.

          • UberGerbil
          • 11 years ago

          The fact that the IPod Classic can play streaming video should tell you that UI speed is /[http://sdd.toshiba.com/main.aspx?Path=StorageSolutions/1.8-inchHardDiskDrives/MK8022GAA/MK8022GAASpecifications<]§ Let's take the minimum value, and cut it in half to account for performance with some level of fragmentation and seeks due to simultaneous music playing and UI interaction. That gives us a worst-case 85 Mb/s, or about 10.5 MB/s. One CD-quality uncompressed audio stream will eat 176.4KB/s (in reality, it's probably using Apple Lossless at about half the bandwidth, or some lossy compression format for even less). Let's assume the UI uses uncompressed 24bpp bitmaps (unlikely) and it is updating the screen 30 times per second (also unlikely) and it is loading an entire screen for every interaction (very unlikely). That's 320x240x3x30 = ~7MB/s. Even while playing audio, the HD transfer rate has at least 50% headroom (and probably much more, given how conservative all those assumptions are). So, explain to me how the HD is the limiting factor in the speed of the UI? In reality, the sluggishness in the UI is probably the result of design decisions Apple made to keep power usage very low: a slow CPU and (especially) spinning down the HD as much as possible. A fast HD isn't fast when it's not spinning (and a higher rpm drive might take /[

    • Krogoth
    • 11 years ago

    Pocket pr0n!

      • ironoutsider
      • 11 years ago

      NO way. SOME people on this site have been quoted to have 3.6 TB of the stuff. Lousy 360 GB would barely fit only a few hundred HD Pornos.

        • Flying Fox
        • 11 years ago

        Do you need a few /[

          • dpaus
          • 11 years ago

          I guess some of us have a long…. commute.

            • Spotpuff
            • 11 years ago

            YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

            • adisor19
            • 11 years ago

            LMAO

            Adi

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