In a quest for ever-thinner and lighter laptops — and without the added expense of using pure solid-state storage — WD has devised new 5mm hard drives to satisfy manufacturers looking to create ultrabooks that can pass muster with Intel and the budget-conscious buying public.
The new version of the Blue 2.5-inch laptop drive is 47 percent thinner than 9mm drives, and WD claims it weighs 36 percent less. The company also said it has built the new Blue with stronger aluminum and cell phone miniaturization technology to improve shock performance, and makes use of the new small form factor SFF-8784 connector. WD is selling the 500GB drives to OEMs for $89.95, giving system builders a little more flexibility to build new, svelte notebooks.
Another option for ultrabooks and similar slim laptops is the new 5mm Black SSHD, which uses WD's solid state hybrid technology to give a boot-up boost with flash memory, along with traditional hard drive storage. WD gives OEMs the option to use its hybrid technology or standard SATA technology when building with the Black drives.
Considering the sleekest laptops tend to use SSDs, and usually cost over $1,000, the 5mm WD drives could allow manufacturers some more design freedom at the lower end of the notebook market. We'll have to wait and see when and how that actually comes to fruition in the coming months.