Hitachi Global Storage Technologies has launched what is claims is the highest-capacity, highest-performing notebook hard drive. The Travelstar 7K200 doubles the capacity of its predecessor to 200GB and includes optional data encryption technology for securing notebooks at the hard drive level.

According to Hitachi, the 2.5-inch Travelstar 7K200 beats the application performance of competing 7,200-rpm drives by as much as a third, while keeping power consumption and heat emission on par with those of 5,400-rpm drives.

In an effort to provide enterprises with data protection, Hitachi's optional bulk data encyption technology protects data at the hard drive level, using a key to scramble data as it is written to disk. Mobile workers then use the key to descramble the encrypted data when they want to retrieve it from the drive. This method provides a higher level of protection than software-based encryption or system-level passwords, according to Hitachi. Moreover, because the data is encrypted on the drive, it never needs to be erased, even when retiring the drive. Deleting the key provides all the data protection necessary, as data is rendered unreadable without it, the company said.

Rival Seagate Technologies has also been pursuing drive-based data encryption. As opposed to the encrypted write methodology employed by the Hitachi Travelstar 7K200, Seagate's Momentus 5400 FDE.2 (Full Disk Encryption 2) - a 5,400-rpm drive with as much as 160GB of capacity - includes an encryption chip that requires users to authenticate before accessing the drive.