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Seagate unleashes its thinnest ever hard disk drive

The thinnest hard disk drive (HDD) Seagate has ever made is now shipping to PC makers, the storage manufacturer has announced.

Seagate's 500GB Laptop Ultrathin HDD has a 5mm profile and is built for ultrathin laptop PCs and tablets — which generally use Flash-based solid state drives (SSDs) rather than mechanical disk drives.

Steve Luczo, president, CEO, and chairman of Seagate, called the new internal storage offering "revolutionary."

"When we originally demonstrated this solution last September, we knew we had a truly innovative product that would empower our partners to reimagine mobile applications. The strong support from our OEM partners indicates we have delivered on our vision and look forward to a new wave of innovative solutions enabled by this revolutionary product," Luczo said.

The Laptop Ultrathin is a 2.5in drive weighing in at 3.3 ounces. Seagate described the ultra-slim and light drive as "about as thin as four stacked credit cards and lighter than a deck of cards."

The new drive packs in 500GB of internal storage for mobile devices in a package that is 25 per cent smaller than Seagate's 7mm HDD, formerly the thinnest on offer from the disk drive maker.

At $89 (£58), the Laptop Ultrathin is "[a]n affordable alternative to SSD storage," according to Seagate, which is pushing the extra space freed up by the slim drive as a means for mobile device makers to add bigger batteries and better air circulation to their products.

Partners like Asus were singing the new HDD's praises as it started shipping to their factories.

"The new Seagate Laptop Ultrathin truly raises the bar, enabling us to finally create high-capacity, thin and light laptops that consumers crave at mass-market price points they can afford," said S Y Shian, corporate vice president and general manager of Asus' notebook business unit. "The drive's capacity, coupled with its ultra-slim, lightweight footprint, empowers our engineers to think out of the box and create truly ground-breaking, innovative system designs — it's a win-win for both us and the consumer."

Seagate's Laptop Ultrathin utilizes a 6GB/s SATA interface and has SED encryption, the company said. The new drive delivers "the best cost per GB and cost per millimeter in the industry for ultrathin applications," according to the storage vendor.

The release comes at the same time Western Digital announced the world's thinnest 1TB hard drive, the 2.5in WD Blue.