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Hitachi Global Storage Technologies has announced the world’s highest-capacity, highest-performing notebook hard drive and it will feature in Dell and Alienware systems. The 2.5”, 200Gb, 7200rpm, Travelstar 7K200 brings twice the capacity of its predecessor as well as a 22 percent performance hike. Using Hitachi’s third-generation perpendicular magnetic recording technology, the 7K200 also comes with optional hard drive level bulk data encryption to guard against data loss.

Rather than protecting your data on a hard drive using software-based encryption or a system-level password, this scrambles the data using a key as it is being written to the disk and then descrambled with the key as it is retrieved. Encryption at the hard-drive level represents a more sophisticated approach to securing users’ data and is generally considered to be as impenetrable as you are likely to get right now. Just as importantly you get a secure data erasing process into the bargain because bulk data encryption makes data-erasing unnecessary. How so? Because by simply deleting the encryption key the drive is rendered unreadable and the data safe from prying eyes.

Hitachi tells me that the drive is 18-33 percent faster in application performance than competitive 7200 RPM and 5400 RPM 2.5-inch hard drives, which means faster file copying and document retrieval, better graphics, faster game performance. It has low acoustics to offer a richer audio-listening experience, and a 5400 RPM power parity means users don’t have to give up battery life for the higher performance. 350 Gs operating shock tolerance gives users better data protection from vibration, bumps and drops than any other competitive hard drives, while 4.2 ms average latency and 10 ms averaged read time coupled with 11 ms average write time round off the impressive performance specs.

Expect to pay around $249 in the summer when the drives become generally available.

As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

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Last Post by jbennet
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Whew, drives are getting huge for laptops. My little 60GB seems so much smaller than it did a few years ago...

I wonder how well the security would work though. If someone were to steal the drive, keeping the encryption keys in hardware (or firmware?) would still allow them to decrypt the data, wouldn't it?

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