Hitachi plans 12,000-rpm drive for Q3

Hitachi America Ltd. expects to shift its storage line into overdrive this fall with the DK3E1, the first announced hard drive with a spindle speed of 12,000 rpm.

Hitachi America Ltd. expects to shift its storage line into overdrive this fall with the DK3E1, the first announced hard drive with a spindle speed of 12,000 rpm.

The Brisbane, Calif., company recently said versions of the forthcoming OEM drive will ship by October. The DK3E1 will use nine 2.5-inch platters, unlike current competing 10,000-rpm drives that use 3-inch or larger media. Hitachi said it expects the drive to fetch a street price of $1,300 to $1,600.

The 9-Gbyte drive will offer an average access time of 5 milliseconds and a sustained data transfer rate of 12.1 to 18.1 Mbytes per second, depending on the cache size employed on the drive, the company said. The drive will be offered with either a Wide Ultra2 SCSI-3 or Fibre Channel-Arbitrated Loop interface.

The drive's smaller media will draw less power than high-speed 3.5- and 3-inch mechanisms of similar capacity. Hitachi said storage vendors will be able to use the drives in current enclosures without needing special cooling schemes or power supplies.

According to Jim Porter, president of Disk/Trend Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., the DK3E1 "represents the leading edge of mechanical engineering" for high-performance drives. Porter said Seagate Technology Inc. used a 3-inch platter instead of the familiar 3.5-inch form factor for its 10,000-rpm Cheetah mechanisms; the smaller size lessened vibration and improved power and heat characteristics.

Requiring more platters and parts to achieve popular capacity points, Hitachi's drive may be pricier than competitors' products with larger platters, Porter said. He added, "But there's always a section of the market that wants performance at any cost."