Hitachi announced yesterday that it's set to launch a new line of energy efficient hard drives under the name Deskstar P7K500. According to Hitachi, these drives consume far less power than anything else on the market while maintaining the high performance end-users expect from a high-end drive. The P7K500 series is expected to be available in high volume by the fourth quarter of 2007 and the drives will be priced competitively for their individual market segments.
Specifications for the new series are as follows:
Capacity: 250/320/400/500GBSingle or dual platter7200 RPM w/ 4.2ms average latency8MB of cache per platter3.6/4.8W idle power6.4/8.2W under load
Where you see multiple numbers listed, the power consumption difference depends on whether the drive is a single-platter or dual-platter model. Checking around, Hitachi's claims are impressive if true—hard drive power consumption can range from 7.5-9.5 at idle, to 9.2-15W under load. If you're interested in picking up one of Hitachi's new P7K500 drives, it's a good idea to compare its power draw against whatever hard drive you're currently using.
Hitachi achieves its lower power ratings via several methods. The P7K500 relies on switching regulators instead of linear regulators for more efficient voltage conversion, and has adopted an SoC (System on a Chip) design that reduces power consumption. Drives in this family also take advantage of Hitachi's Advanced Power Management, but introduce two new operating modes (Unload Idle and Low RPM Idle) that can significantly reduce power consumption. The two modes are defined as follows:
Unload Idle: The heads are safely unloaded to the ramp and the servo is shut off; this mode delivers power savings of 11 percent better than idle
modeLow RPM idle" The heads are safely unloaded to the ramp, the servo is shut off and the spindle motor RPM is reduced; this setting achieves power
savings of 44 percent better than idle mode.
Given the growing interest in silent/low power PCs, Hitachi's new offering definitely has the potential to be in the right place at the right time as far as consumer interest is concerned. Keep in mind, however, that while every little bit helps, 7W of power isn't exactly a huge reduction compared to the total power draw of most systems. Hitachi's new P7K500 may keep your system decibals low, but don't expect to see the difference on your power bill.