January 16, 2006 7:05 PM PST

Seagate cranks up notebook drives to 160GB

Seagate Technology, the largest hard drive manufacturer in the world, has started to ship its first drive for notebooks based on perpendicular recording techniques, a shift that increases capacity by 25 percent.

The Momentus 5400.3, a 2.5-inch diameter hard drive shown off last year, is designed for notebooks that hold 160GB of storage, the equivalent of 40,000 songs or nearly three hours of high-definition video. The drive relies on perpendicular recording, in which the bits are stacked up vertically. This increases the amount of data that can be contained on a single platter. Prices were not released.

The drive makes 5,400 revolutions per minute. Seagate will later come out with drives that spin at slower rates (which lowers cost and energy consumption) as well as those that spin at higher rates for faster data retrieval.

Seagate showed off the drive in June 2005, along with other perpendicular drives. At the time, Seagate said it would release the drive in the winter.

The Scotts Valley, Calif.-based company will also bring perpendicular recording to its 3.5-inch diameter drives, used in PCs and digital video recorders, as well as 1-inch diameter drives, employed in MP3 players and phones.

Competitors such as Toshiba and Hitachi have already come out or are planning to release perpendicular recording drives for their various markets. The technology will become more prevalent as the year goes on. Drive makers hit on the idea of perpendicular recording a few years ago, but have only started employing the technology on mass-manufactured products.

Hard drive density--a measure of the amount of data a drive can hold--doubles around every 18 months and at times has doubled at an annual rate. The frantic improvement in the technology comes, partly, because of the difficult competitive environment. Often, drive makers lose money, so they are engaged in a constant race to improve their products.


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Just how high is that definition?
Only three hours of high-def video on a 160 GB hard drive seems awfully low to me. When I record high-def broadcasts on my hard drive, they are usually around 8 to 9 GB per hour. I would think that this drive could hold around 16 hours of high-definition video, and that is with Windows and a high-definition video player installed.
Posted by eBob1 (188 comments )
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I agree
Yeah pretty 160GB is way more then 3 hours of high-def video. Because it's would come out something like 50GB+ for an hour of video?

That can not be true because the next generation dvd disks handle only 30GB/50GB depending which format they go with. How would they expect to put 2 hour movies on disks?

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.Remove-All-Spyware.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.Remove-All-Spyware.com/</a>
Posted by Roman12 (214 comments )
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not sure what this reporter is going on, but i'm assuming he's talking about uncompressed HD. Next gen dvds use compression technologies and so do your HD broadcasts. Uncompressed HD would indeed take up a crapload of space... but you wouldn't use a laptop for that anyway.
Posted by mortis9 (370 comments )
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i was thinking the same..
3 hours??

why would anyone use uncompressed high def instead of mpeg 2 or h.264?
Posted by assman (1101 comments )
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bitrates vs 160GB
at 19mbps (maximum hdtv broadcast quality) that is ~19 hours of HD video
Here's a site that displays bitrates for hdtv broadcasts

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.widemovies.com/dfwbitrate.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.widemovies.com/dfwbitrate.html</a>

hdv format is 25mbps so the drive would be good for ~14.5 hours of that.

I don't expect many laptop users are going to have any video at a higher bitrate.
Posted by bobbutts (21 comments )
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Two links to SEAGATE.
Make sure you refer to: 5400.3

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.seagate.com/docs/pdf/marketing/PO-Momentus54.pdf" target="_newWindow">http://www.seagate.com/docs/pdf/marketing/PO-Momentus54.pdf</a>

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.seagate.com/docs/pdf/datasheet/disc/ds_momentus5400.pdf" target="_newWindow">http://www.seagate.com/docs/pdf/datasheet/disc/ds_momentus5400.pdf</a>

This is S-ATA so 150 mb/sec, which is hdtv 1080p range, however rest of mainboard slows that down to less than 12 mb/sec of final output or EDtv.
Posted by thomasxstewart (6 comments )
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