Western Digital reports it has begun volume shipment of a new notebook hard drive which packs 500GB onto only two platters, making this drive the first 500GB notebook drive to pack two platters, and the second to fit in the standard 9.5mm depth 2.5" drive bay. The WD Scorpio Blue 500GB's two platters have an industry-leading 250GB capacity and rotate at 5400RPM. The new drive carries a $220 MSRP.
Other 500GB laptop drives from Hitachi, Samsung, Fujitsu, and Seagate have launched over the last year, all using three platters at lower densities to hit the 500GB point. The WD Scorpio is remarkable for shrinking the disk to two platters. However, the Samsung drive already fit within the 9.5mm bay standard with three platters, and Seagate's recent entrant boasted a 7200RPM spindle speed.
WD claims the new drive has industry-leading power comsumption, cool operating temperatures, and silent operation, thanks to "proprietary features." WD's industry-leading propriety keeps them from offering us any details, although they say the new drive features their already-mentioned WhisperDrive, ShockGuard, and Intelliseek technologies. The new drive should be quite similar to the rest of its ilk performance-wise.
This new drive, which WD says is already being shipped to OEMs, may popularize the 500GB notebook drive, which thus far has not reached most online BTO notebook lines and etailers. OEMs are reluctant to design notebooks with thicker 12mm bays, but a 9.5mm drop-in will make the upgrade offer an effortless decision. In a very real sense, this new drive marks the arrival of 500GB notebook drives. It's not entirely clear why the other manufacturers chose to offer the thicker three-platter versions; presumably sales other than laptops drove their adoption. The extent of that adoption isn't known, but three-platter 2.5" hard disks may well be a thing of the past from now on.
WD is also offering a 400GB version of the Scorpio Blue with the same platters and technologies at a $190 MSRP.Posted on