Fujitsu's latest 2.5 inch 5400RPM 500GB hard disk, the MJA2 BH
On Tuesday, storage manufacturer Fujitsu Computer Products of America announced their latest series of mobile hard disks, raising the capacity bar for laptops with their 2.5-inch MJA2 BH and MJA2 CH series 5400 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/sec mobile hard drives. And they're whoppers -- half-terabyte (500GB) and 320GB parts are now available for OEM volume purchase. No public pricing has been announced, however.
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500GB and 320GB certainly goes a long way towards making laptops true desktop replacements, considering that more and more large media files are being downloaded by end-users, such as Hi-Def video files as well as large collections of digital audio, as well as due to the the ever increasing destroyer of disk corporate space, PowerPoint files. But besides the size of these disks, I'm impressed with two other features -- security and self preservation.
The "CH" version of the drives, which will be shipping concurrently with the "BH" series, offer 256-bit embedded hardware data encryption without impacting application and drive performance. As far as I know, no other mass storage vendor offers encryption above 128-bits. For companies that are paranoid about accidentally exposing customer data due to lost or stolen laptops, these new drives are an absolute godsend and will allow a lot more corporate IT departments to sleep better at night knowing their travelling execs have secure data.
Another thing I like about Fujitsu's announcement is that these new drives have improved anti-shock features. I can't tell you about how many times I've seen people lose all their data from dropping laptops or by mishandling at the airport while the systems were in suspend mode or turned on and passed thru security. Fujitsu's new drives have a inertial sensor that can detect shock and put the drive into a suspended safe mode preventing data loss. So your laptop might crash on the floor and you might need to get the hardware replaced, but the drive and its valuable data should be recoverable.
While these super-dense miniature drives are primarily intended for the laptop market, I can't help but think that they have more interesting applications, such as the ability to produce much smaller set-top boxes with HD DVR functionality, or high-density mini-servers and NAS appliances with integrated RAID. I'd love to pair two of these 500GB encrypted drives in a miniature enclosure with a hardware RAID-1 chipset and a ESATA/USB combo interface, so I could have portable and secure RAID storage. The price points might make a device like that prohibitive now, but given economies of scale, it should be doable for your average corporate traveler for a few hundred dollars within a few years.
Are you craving half-terabyte internal storage on your laptop yet? Talk Back and Let Me Know.