Right around the time Seagate was announcing its first solid state drives, the company also made brief mention to an ultra slim HDD it was finalising. Now here it is...
The Seagate 'Momentus Thin' (yes it sounds like Californian slang for an eating disorder) is a 2.5in HDD that measures just 7mm deep. That's over 25 per cent less than the traditional 9.5mm thick drives you find in today's laptops.
"The Momentus Thin drive promises to help computer makers differentiate on mobile-computing form factor and better compete in the fast-growing markets for thin laptop PCs and netbooks," Seagate sales and marketing VP Dave Mosley. But does 2.5mm really make a big difference? In the current battle for slim it actually does when you consider most CPU chips are smaller than a fingernail and about the same thickness.
Furthermore, the Momentus Thin range should pack reasonable performance with a 5,400rpm spin speed and 8MB of cache. Where the compromise seems to be made is the reduced capacity as a result of less available drive surface area. Consequently just 160GB and 250GB versions will be available and will likely come at a noticeable (if not SSD-esque) price premium.
Seagate is pushing out the Momentus Thin range to partners in January so expect to see them in some of the most starved laptops and netbooks you'll see next year. That said, long term this reduced form factor still pales into insignificance alongside the proposed SSD mSata format...
In related news Western Digital claims it has developed a method of formatting hard drives that provides up to 11 per cent more storage space from a clean OS install. WD dubs this 'Advanced Format' and while 11 per cent doesn't sound a lot when you're talking about 2TB drives and more in future I doubt many would turn their noses up at the extra gigabytes?
Mac OS X, Linux, Vista and Windows 7 will all support Advanced Format naturally, though special software is required for it to recognise the additional capacity in XP because of its reduced file format support (read: it's ooooold). WD drives with Advanced Format will start shipping in the next few weeks.