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Hitachi announces self-encrypting hard drive

Hitachi's new 2.5-inch Travelstar drive offers 500GB capacity, support for new encryption standards, and low power consumption.

If you are a fan of notebook hard drives with hardware-level encryption, apart from Seagate, you now can turn to Hitachi.

The company announced on Tuesday the third generation of its 2.5-inch Travelstar hard drive with built-in encryption, the Travelstar 5K500.B. This is a 5400rpm, SATA II hard drive that comes in capacities ranging from 120GB to 500GB, and is designed for notebook PCs, external storage, gaming consoles, as well as other mobile and enterprise applications.


Considering the wide range of implementation, the new hard drive comes in a few versions. The one for notebooks focuses on low power consumption. The version used for enterprise has Hitachi's Enhanced Availability technology that lets the drive operate 24 hours a day at high-speed.

Nonetheless, according to Hitachi, its new drive features a halogen-free design, consumes less energy, and is more eco-friendly than other drives of the same type.

The new Travelstar 5K500.B's features optional hard-drive-level Bulk Data Encryption. The "optional" notation means that customers need to ask for the data encryption feature to be turned on at the manufacturer. This is because, according to Hitachi, in some markets such as China or Russia, special permits are required to buy or use hard drives with built-in encryption.

With BDE, the data is scrambled using a key as it is written to the disk and then descrambled with the key as it is retrieved, giving users transparent protection. It also helps simplify the drive redeployment process. By deleting the encryption key, the data is rendered unreadable, thereby eliminating the need for the time-consuming data-wiping process.

The new TravelStar 5K500.B drive is slated to be available sometime next month. Currently, it's unclear how much the drive will cost.