Samsung has announced a 2.5-inch drive with 40GB greater capacity than any from its rivals.

Seagate or Fujitsu have 2.5-inch drives that top out at 160 Gbyte. Samsung says it is offering the industry's highest available density at 100 GB/platter for 7200rpm drives - and has promised a 50GB uplift to 250Gbyte.

The SpinPoint MP1 provides between 80- and 200GB on its two platters, spins at 7200rpm and has a 3.0 Gbit/s serial ATA (SATA) interface. It is designed for blade servers, general servers, RAID arrays and workstations. It has perpendicular recording and native command queuing (NCQ), as competitor drives do. What is unique for an enterprise drive is a rotary vibration controller plus a drop sensor that parks the head if free fall acceleration is detected.

Either Samsung intends this drive for top-end notebook use, or the drive casing and controller unit are common to both the enterprise and notebook versions of the drive. It's cheaper to leave it in than take it out.

The drop sensor is a feature of the M5 notebook version of the drive. It offers 60 to 160GB of capacity on its single platter and spins at 5400rpm. A dual platter version is coming with a forecast 250GB capacity. Samsung said the drive was both quieter and less power-hungry than other suppliers' 2.5-inch drives. It has a 1.5 Gbit/s SATA interface and 8MB of cache. Parallel ATA versions will be added next month.

Seagate's Momentus notebook drive offers a lower 100 GB capacity but faster rotation, meaning faster disk I/O, at 7200rpm.

Hyung Keun Park, Samsung Electronics’ Storage System Division EVP, said: "The 2.5-inch hard drive market is registering double-digit annual growth, and we expect at least a twenty percent increase in 2007." He thinks the 2.5-inch form factor is applicable both to enterprise servers and desktops, notebooks and also consumer electronics devices.

MP1 samples will be available in early May, with mass production scheduled in late May. M5 mass production begins this month and OEMs already have samples.

If 2.5-inch drives become popular for workstations then the need for separate system cabinets will become less and the notebook form factor could make further inroads into the desktop computing market.