Green hard drives with 40+% better power savings in Q4

Posted by Rick C. Hodgin

Greenville (SC) - Hitachi has announced it will be releasing green hard drives this quarter with up to 40% better idle power savings.  The pricing will be comparable with non-green devices.  Hitachi will remain at 7200rpm throughout all of its green products, which include 250 GB, 320 GB, 400 GB and 500 GB drives in parallel or serial ATA.

This is Hitachi's sixth generation of power saving technology.  Lee Johnson, Hitachi's 3.5-inch product marketing manager, said, "our specs are up to 59 percent better than the competition.  We've reduced idle power by 40 percent as compared with our previous drives, the T7K500."  In addition, she said that the new hard drives will consume a maximum of 7 watts.

In order to achieve the lower power Hitachi has adopted a more advanced System On Chip (SoC) design.  The new interface results in greater efficiencies in power consumption and performance.  Hitachi has also invested in a comprehensive software approach to hardware operations.  This means the SoC is programmed with logic enabling load-unload technology, for example, which unloads the heads when the drive is off (powers the heads down).  This enables an 11% to 15% power savings over existing models.  In addition, the drive can be throttled down to 5400rpm with a whopping 44% to 52% power saving ability.  The drive can then be spun back up under heavy use.  With the addition of cache buffers, casual users would likely never see any performance degradation.  No word on how quickly these power-down features engage or what threshholds are required to disengage them.

Hitachi plans to implement their green technology model into all of their drives eventually.  Johnson said there will be no performance degradation compared to current non-green drives.  In fact, she indicated performance may even be slightly better due to the advanced SoC.  Hitachi plans to release the green drives this quarter.  The P7K500 has a suggested retail price of $160, which is comparable to their current 500 GB deskstar product, the T7K500, which is selling online for about $130 on average.