WD announces 5mm UltraSlim 2.5-inch hard drives

April 24, 2013 // 10:30 a.m.

Tags: #25 #25in #5mm #hard-drive #slim #storage #ultrabook #wd-black #wd-blue #wd-blue-ultraslim

Storage giant Western Digital (WD) has announced the release of the world's first 5mm-thick 2.5" mechanical hard drives, designed for slim-and-light devices like Intel's Ultrabooks.

Available in two variations, the WD Blue is a traditional single-platter 500GB hard drive with 16MB of DRAM cache, while the WD Black also incorporates 24GB of NAND flash, for faster system and program bootup times.

Modders hoping to make use of the new ultra-slim drives will need to cool their jets, however: to keep the size to a bare minimum, WD has opted to use the SFF-8784 edge connector rather than a more standard full-size SATA connector, making them incompatible with standard connectors and cables without the use of an adapter.

To get the size down to such small dimensions, WD claims to have worked hard on the design of the drives. The motor has been replaced with a tied-shaft model designed to increase pinch strength by a third while reducing size, and the aluminium components are constructed from a stronger alloy to allow WD to drop their thickness still further over standard drives.

'With the launch of our new WD Blue 5mm UltraSlim hard drives and our WD Black SSHD products, currently shipping to OEMs, WD 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,' crowed Matt Rutledge, WD client computing vice president, at the launch. 'Our engineering team took a clean-sheet approach to deliver an ultra-thin hard drive that enables a world of possibilities and applications for mobile computing and beyond.'

The new drives are shipping to selected original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) today, with Acer and Asus both confirmed as using the drives in future slim laptop products. A retail launch is in the works, with WD aiming for a retail cost of $89 (around £58 excluding taxes) including a two-year warranty for the WD Blue, but no official launch date has been offered. Additional capacities are expected to follow shortly.

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