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Toshiba spins more storage for laptops

A new 100GB hard drive will offer more capacity for notebook owners interested in heavy-duty video editing or game playing.

Toshiba on Thursday unveiled a supersize hard drive for notebooks.

The 100GB storage vault, the MK1031GAS, will pack 20GB more capacity than Toshiba?s current biggest drives for notebooks.

While most notebooks now come with 30GB or 40GB drives, many notebook buyers have been clamoring for more. Such buyers often seek out notebooks that are close to desktops in performance and storage capacity for multimedia tasks, such as gaming and video editing. Engineers also often need beefed-up machines to work in the field. Until now, such buyers have had to opt for either 60GB or 80GB hard drives, the two largest sizes available from most manufacturers.

Toshiba increased the capacity of its latest notebook drive by bumping up the areal density, or the amount of data each of the disk?s platters can hold, to 80 gigabits per square inch. Hard drives are made up of one or more platters that store data. Toshiba's new drive has two such platters.

The company also changed the composition of the drive head in the MK1031GAS, helping it to increase the storage capacity of the drive.

Drive makers typically double areal density every few years, allowing them to offer higher capacity drives, while using the same number of platters or fewer. Notebook drives, which use 2.5-inch platters, typically lag behind the capacity of desktop drives, which use 3.5-inch platters. Hitachi Global Storage, for example, recently added a 400GB desktop hard drive to its product line.

Toshiba also made improvements that help increase the new drive's shock resistance and reduce its power consumption and noise production, compared with its current 80GB notebook hard drive, Seiji Kawagoe, senior manager of hard drive product planning for Toshiba?s storage device division, said in a statement. ?The resulting drive is perfect for integration in high-spec portable PCs and other portable devices,? he said.

Potential buyers may have to wait awhile for the new drive. Samples of the MK1031GAS won?t be available until May, Toshiba said. Generally, once a company releases samples, it takes several months for a product to become widely available.

Toshiba did not announce the price of the new drive, which is likely to be offered directly to manufacturers first.