Hitachi’s 7-mm Travelstar Z7K500 eyes Ivy Bridge ultrabooks

Although most 2.5" hard drives measure 9.5 mm thick, ultraportables are increasingly using slimmer 7-mm models. Hitachi says it’s shipped 25 million of the slender drives already. Now, there’s a new one ready just in time for Ivy Bridge ultrabooks. Behold the Travelstar Z7K500:

Well, the inside of it, anyway. That’s the interesting part, because the Travelstar offers 500GB of storage capacity squeezed onto a single platter. The platter rotates at 7,200 RPM, and it’s backed by a 32MB DRAM cache and a 6Gbps Serial ATA interface. Bursting in and out of the cache is the only way the drive is going to exploit the faster SATA link, though. The media transfer rate tops out at 171 MB/s, which is still pretty quick for a 2.5" mechanical drive. You can thank the platter’s 630 GB/in² areal density for the speedy sequential transfer rate.

Hitachi isn’t oblivious to the appeal of SSDs, noting that the Travelstar is an ideal companion for a solid-state cache. Notebooks rarely have dual hard drive bays, but the mSATA specification allows even compact ultrabooks to cram a tiny SSD next to a 7-mm hard drive. As notebook makers bring thinner systems to lower price points, I expect we’ll see more dual-drive configurations. Acer’s Aspire S3, one of the cheapest ultrabooks on the market, already combines a 20GB SSD with a 320GB mechanical drive.

In addition to the 500GB flagship, the Travelstar Z7K500 will be available in 320 and 250GB variants. There are versions with full-disk encryption, as well, and even a couple of "enhanced availability" models primed for blade servers. Hitachi says it started shipping qualification samples last month. Volume shipments are scheduled to begin in March, giving the firm plenty of time to supply notebook vendors piecing together not only Ivy Bridge ultrabooks, but also similarly skinny ultraportables based on AMD’s upcoming 17W Trinity APU.

Comments closed
    • dpaus
    • 8 years ago

    ‘Ivy Brige’ or ‘Ivy Bilge’ ??

    • colinstu
    • 8 years ago

    There goes all the fast SSDs in ultrabooks D:

    I don’t care how fast you make a platter-based hard drive… they’re simply not as fast as SSDs and when it comes to laptops… it’s really noticeable.

      • plasticplate
      • 8 years ago

      Its not just laptops. SSD’s are wayy faster than mechanical drives in any platform

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 8 years ago

      Ivy Bridge ultrabooks are required to have 16GB of flash storage.

    • pogsnet
    • 8 years ago
      • Thatguy
      • 8 years ago

      Certainly faster than my 500gb Spinpoint f3 drive. 🙁

      • Farting Bob
      • 8 years ago

      Theres no link in the article to the product spec page, cant tell if thats burst speed or sustained sequential read speed. If its the latter, that is exceptionally quick for a 2.5″ drive as they are normally slower max speed than their desktop counterparts of similar platter density and rotation speed.

      • Airmantharp
      • 8 years ago

      Someone please slap a Marvell SSD to this thing and make the world’s most awesome hybrid drive. Please!

    • phez
    • 8 years ago

    As someone who’s not sold on SSDs, its nice to see these drives still being developed. Being single platter, I hope it has an attractive price as well.

      • Omniman
      • 8 years ago

      Have you tested out a machine with an SSD in it yet?

        • DPete27
        • 8 years ago

        Once you go SSD, you never go back

        • Farting Bob
        • 8 years ago

        I think the price puts most people off, not the performance gains. And im sure more than a few people are suspicious about high failure rates on many SSD’s.

          • phez
          • 8 years ago

          Pretty much exactly my reservations.

          • obarthelemy
          • 8 years ago

          that, and some people want to actually have media inside their mobile PCs. I’ve got 650GB of it in my case… I don’t even think SSDs that big are available, let alone at $70.

        • obarthelemy
        • 8 years ago

        Yes. And I upgraded it to a mechanical HD:
        – shaving 5-10s off boot and app launch is not THAT big a change.
        – ridiculous price
        – miserly capacity.
        – Plus all studies I’ve seen point to SSDs being significantly less reliable than HDs.

          • Airmantharp
          • 8 years ago

          Not that I’m knocking your decision, but:
          -Multitasking performance with anything using the drive is drastically improved as well
          -They continue to plummet in price, and are already affordable in ‘usable’ sizes (80+GB)
          -While it’s an inconvenience, I’ve found using an external drive for media, and even many games, to be a seamless solution performance wise
          -Links or you’re full of it (no offense intended); SSDs are new and research is required, but there are many highly reliable solutions on the market; oh, and uh, SEAGATE

          For my laptop, I use an Intel 320 120GB, one of the most reliable SSDs available. For additional storage I put the 640GB drive the laptop came with in an external USB3 enclosure, from which I see no performance disadvantage over an internal drive. This works for all extra media, and is also the installation directory for Steam. For any game that I use often and that can take useful advantage of the speed that the SSD offers, I use symbolic links.

          I know that it’s not the ideal solution, but it works very well- if I’m using my laptop as a mobile workstation, I don’t need the external drive, but if I’m using it as a media station, the drive isn’t inconvenient.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This