Hitachi Global Storage Technologies has announced a new version of its 7200-rpm, 2.5-inch laptop hard disk drive that, at 500GB, claiming it has more than twice the capacity of its predecessor and is 16 percent faster.

The Hitachi Travelstar 7K500 SATA drive is designed for notebooks, gaming systems and professional external storage enclosures, according to Hitachi.

The company also said the drive provides operating shock resistance and advanced power management capabilities for "sturdy, unplugged notebook performance."

"Hitachi's new 500GB mobile 2.5-inch HDD with a 7,200-rpm spin-speed provides PC OEMs an opportunity to differentiate PCs with both capacity and performance." John Rydning, research director for hard disk drives at IDC.

Rydning went on to say that portable PC shipment growth continues to be one of the most significant market drivers underpinning 2.5-inch disk drive demand, and is a major reason why the 2.5-inch mobile HDD market will see a 16.8 percent compound annual growth rate between 2008 and 2013.

Like the past four generations of the Travelstar mobile drive family, Hitachi includes hardware-based Bulk Data Encryption (BDE) as an option on its Travelstar 7K500. When the Hitachi BDE option is enabled, the hard drive will encrypt all data that comes from the system as it is written to the media. When read back, the drive decrypts the data so that it can be understood by the system. Since the hard drive is doing the encryption work, there is no impact on system performance, Hitachi said.

By deleting the encryption key, the data is rendered unreadable, thereby eliminating the need for time-consuming data-overwrite.

The Travelstar 7K500 consumes 0.69 watts idle power and 1.8 watts during read/write operations, which contributes to longer battery life in laptops and other mobile applications, the company said.

The Travelstar 7K500 is now shipping in limited quantities to resellers, with volume shipments beginning later this month. Capacities include 120GB, 160GB, 250GB, 320GB and 500GB. Hitachi will offer an enhanced-availability (EA) version, available in 160GB to 500GB capacities in November. The EA version is specifically designed for applications requiring 24x7 operations in lower transaction environments, such as blade servers, network routers and surveillance systems.