Seagate Plans Ultra-Thin Drive for Netbooks

Seagate is planning to launch a new hard drive at CES that is 25% thinner than current models. At 7-millimeteres, the new drive will enable laptop manufacturer to reduce the thickness and weight of their computers even more than current hard drives (which measure either 9.5 millimeters high or 12.5 millimeters high) will allow.

Today's thicker drives generally offer greater capacity than their thin brothers, mostly because the thicker drives are able to accommodate an extra 2.5-inch diameter storage platter. Thanks to recent advances in magnetic data storage, however, more data can be stored on a single platter. This has reduced the need for multiple platters in a drive.

Seagate hasn't released the capacity of its thin new hard drive, but we do know it will be part of Seagate's Momentus Thin series. According to Seagate, the new drive will mean "significantly lower cost-per-gigabyte storage than solid state and 1.8-inch drives, enabling a new breed of entry-level thin laptops."

Currently, about nine of 10 netbook PCs use 9.5mm, 2.5-inch drives. Those who don't use a 2.5-inch drive typically sacrifice storage capacity and use thinner drives with smaller 1.8-inch diameter platters. According to figures from IDC, 49% of all hard drives shipped in the third quarter of this year were 2.5-inch drives. Larger 3.5-inch models had a 44% share of the market. This is the first time shipments of 2.5-inch models exceeded those of 3.5-inch drives.

Seagate's new drive is scheduled to be officially announced on January 5.