Western Digital Lays Claim to Industry's First 5mm 2.5-inch Hard Drive

Paul Lilly

Tiny drives for ultraportables.

Western Digital , a major player in the storage space, today announced it's begun shipping what it claims are the world's first ultra-slim 2.5-inch, 5mm hard drives and solid state hybrid drives (SSHDs) designed for space constrained devices, such as Ultrabooks and ultra-thin laptops. The new drives are nearly half the size of traditional mobile drives and around 35 percent thinner than the most popular smartphones, WD claims.

"With the launch of our new WD Blue 5mm ultra slim 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," said Matt Rutledge , vice president of WD’s client computing business unit. "Our engineering team took a clean-sheet approach with 5mm to deliver an ultra-thin hard drive that enables a world of possibilities and applications for mobile computing and beyond."

WD's Blue 5mm ultra slim hard drives are currently available in 500GB ($90 MSRP) capacities. They offer up to a 36 percent reduction in weight compared to regular 9.5mm mobile drives and are apparently adept at handling shock due to WD's effort to maximize the mechanical sway space.

The upshot of what WD's done here is to provide a means for OEM system builders to offer increasingly thin laptops without sacrificing storage space or cost.

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