Taipei (Taiwan) - Lately, Seagate has been the company to look at when it came to the largest capacity hard drives. In an unexpected move, Toshiba today trumped Seagate's 160 GB notebook drive with a 200 GB version, packing an impressive storage density of 178 Gb/inch2 on its two 2.5" platters - 34% more than the 160 GB generation.
Perpendicular magnetic recording technology, short PMR, is injecting a whole new set of competitive dynamics into the hard drive industry. While Seagate was first out of the gate with a hard drive that pushed 2.5" drive capacities from 120 GB to 160 GB in January of this year, and Hitachi was able to follow with a matching drive just last month, Toshiba challenges its competitors with a 200 GB drive for notebooks and portable hard drives.
Most impressive about the new hard drive is its enormous storage density. At 178 Gb/inch2, Toshiba races past Seagate and Hitachi, which currently offer 133 Gb in their highest capacity notebook drives. Toshiba hits a level that was believed to be only reachable with laser assisted hard drives just five years ago; however, Toshiba is still well below the 500 Gb that is currently believed to be close to a natural barrier of current hard drive technologies.
The MK2035GSS drive packs 100 GB on each of its two platters and is built in a standard 9.5 mm form factor. Only available as a SATA II version, the device is purely focused on suiting mobile computers and portable hard drives offering as much capacity as possible. Don't expect unusual performance - average seek time of the 4200 rpm drive is rated at 12 ms. However, its light weight of 98 grams may make up for the lack in speed in some applications.
Toshiba said it will begin selling the hard drive beginning in August, which provides Seagate and Hitachi enough time to match the MK2035GSS. Pricing of the new drive has not been announced, but should come in around $300 to $350 at launch.