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Hitachi announces thin laptop hard drives

Ultra-slim hard drives for netbooks and tablet PCs have been around for a while now but they have gained a reputation for being slow and limited in capacity.

Spinning-platter drives have also been playing second fiddle to pricier, but smaller and quicker Solid State drives (SSD) lately, but Hitachi reckons its latest offerings will even the playing field when it comes to quiet accoustics and low-energy consumption, and blow SSD out of the water when it comes to value for money.

Hitachi's Z-series of 2.5-inch hard drives was announced today and includes three new models:

The Travelstar Z7K320 is, according to the Japanese company, the first 7mm drive to spin at 7,200 rpm, giving it an 18 per cent speed boost over simillar drives which can only manage 5400rpm. It has 16MB of cache, a 3GB/s serial ATA interface, and burns just 1.8 watts when spinning and 0.8 when idle.

The Travelstar Z5K320 spins at 5400rpm, has 8MB of cache and consumes 1.6 watts and 0.55 watts respectively.

The Cinemastar Z5K320 is the first 7mm drive designed specifically for video streaming use and is set to tip up in set-top boxes and DVRs. It has 8MB of cache and, while it spins at 5400 rpm, it has been designed to be quieter than its Travelstar cousins.

As you may have guessed from the naming scheme, all three new drives have 320GB of capacity, which is another first for 7mm drives.

Hitachi said it is currently shipping all three SKUs in manufacturing quantities to OEMs, so you can expect to see them crammed into a laptop, tablet, set-top box or TV near you very soon.