Hitachi's Z-Series Drives Herald New Breed Of Hard Disks

Our meeting with Nick Kyriacou, Director, EMEA at Hitachi Global Storage Technologies last Thursday, might not have yielded much about any breaking technologies but it was clear that the owner of the once-reviled Deskstar (aka Deathstar) brand, is taking storage seriously.

HGST, it seems, prefers to keep things simple and their latest Z-series drives for example show that they are likely to look for a mass market appeal rather than being best at everything.

The Z-Series comes at a perfect time since it is launched within hours of Intel's new range processors aiming at expanding the ULV market, which should enable even slimmer laptops in a near future.

Hitachi has already confirmed that they want to push the 9.5mm format out of the market and this 2mm gap will be yet another nail in the coffin of that industry standard's coffin. Seagate did launch a 7mm drive back in December and we'd expect WD and Toshiba to announce something similar soon.

However, HGST's reluctance to embrace new technologies is worrying. Seagate came up with an hybrid Momentus laptop drive that combines both SSD and traditional spinning technology with great success.

HGST's foray in the SSD world has been pretty limited with a partnership with Intel that has yet to bear its fruits and a hybrid SSD/Bluray optical drive, the Hydrive, which may be doomed to spend its life as a niche product.