Toshiba bulks up notebook hard drive

update The company says its hard drive is the first to put 60GB of storage onto a typical notebook drive. The move may mean more storage for mainstream notebooks.

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update Toshiba on Tuesday announced what it says is the first notebook hard drive to put 60GB of storage onto a two-platter hard drive.

The move could pave the way for mainstream notebooks to use more storage than is currently cost-effective. Hard drives are made up of layers of platters with heads, like stereo needles, for reading and writing data. Although IBM has a 60GB drive that is included on some high-end notebooks, that drive has more platters and thus is costlier and too tall to fit in most notebook designs, Toshiba said.

"Very few notebook platforms today will accommodate that sort of height," said Amy Dalphy, manager of Toshiba's hard drive business unit. Dalphy wouldn't say how much the company is charging computer makers for the new drives, but she said it was similar to other generations in which the price starts out somewhat high but comes down over time.

Toshiba said its new 60GB drives will begin shipping late next month.

Toshiba is also known for making even smaller drives, including the 5GB and 10GB drives that power Apple Computer's iPod portable music player.

Jim Porter, president of Mountain View, Calif.-based market research firm Disk/Trend, said that Toshiba has been the leader in boosting data density on notebook drives for the past few years.

"They've provided a fair amount of leadership in the last five or six years on that," Porter said.

However, IBM leads the industry in the number of notebook drives shipped, Porter said. "Toshiba is a strong second place," he added.