500GB Hard Drive from Hitachi

Hitachi-7k-driveIn an effort to keep up with the demands of the ever growing appetite for digital storage, Hitachi has announced a 500-Gigabyte drive.

With the rise of Digital Obesity (the hoarding of digital data) and the continued growth of Digital Video Recorders (DVR’s), in particular the early days of availability of the High Definition TV (HDTV) DVRs, the demands for storage are growing drastically.

The 3.5-inch drive will be joining the DeskStar range of drives as the Deskstar 7K500.

When used in a DVR it will be able to hold around 200 hours of Standard Definition TV, a serious step up from the 40 to 80 hours now available.

For those of a hardcore technical nature, you’ll be excited to hear that Hitachi will be the first hard drive vendor to deliver all of the major design enhancements identified in the SATA II (second version of Serial ATA) specification, including a 3 Gb/s data transfer rate. Translated – the serial interface isn’t going to be what slows the path of data from the drive to the processor, that’s more likely to be restricted by the drive (817 Mb/s in this case). SATA II doubles the transfer rate of SATA 1.0.

The drives also feature what Hitachi is calling Smooth Stream Technology, which is based on the recently ratified ATA-7 AV Streaming Feature Set. Why is this important? It’s been designed to simultaneously lay down a number of large data streams (each HDTV 1080i stream runs at 19 Mbits/s) as well as smoothly handle data errors.

When handling AV (Audio Visual) information the accuracy of the information is of less importance than its fast transfer. If the video doesn’t arrive in time, the glitches that are seen on the screen are far more noticeable that one or two bits missing

Hitachi hopes to ship the 7K500 in Q1 2005. Hitachi
Serial ATA
ATA-7 Working Draft (doc)
ATA/ATAPI AV Streaming Command Set Usage Guidelines (doc)