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WD begins shipping ultraslim 5mm, 2.5in hard drive

Western Digital has begun shipping the world's first ultraslim hard drive and its solid-state hybrid drive counterpart.

The new WD Blue hard drive and WD Black SSHD were designed for integration into the slimmest of devices, and provide a compromise for developers who often sacrifice capacity, physical size, or performance.

With the launch of the new Blue and Black products, which are currently shipping to OEMs, the company "is delivering to our customers a variety of solutions that maximize storage capacity and volumetric efficiency, as well as performance and system responsiveness, for consumers," Matt Rutledge, vice president of WD's client computing business unit, said in a statement.

Both drives sport the same 2.5in 5mm physique and weigh up to 36 per cent less than the standard 9.5mm drive. With 500GB of storage, the drives fit into smaller devices while also boosting storage capacity.

But the smaller the drive gets, the more vulnerable it becomes to user-induced stress, according to WD, which designed added protection for the tiny tech. Stabilising technology has been added to reduce noise, shock, and vibration, keeping the drives active without damage.

"Our engineering team took a clean-sheet approach with 5 mm to deliver an ultra-thin hard drive that enables a world of possibilities and applications for mobile computer and beyond," Rutledge said.

Western Digital is now shipping both drives to OEMs. The WD Blue costs $89, while the company did not specify the price for the Black SSHD.

Back in 2011, the Thai floods cost WD $199 million (£130 million) and its ability to manufacture hard disk drives. By August 2012, however, the company bounced back reclaimed its lead over Seagate with a record $4.8 billion (£3 billion) in revenue and 71 million HDD units produced. The company is scheduled to report its first quarter 2013 earnings tomorrow.