Western Digital ups Caviar 3.5-inch drive capacity to 640GB

New two-platter SE16 device doubles the capacity of line's previous high-end offering

Western Digital Wednesday launched a new 3.5-inch Caviar hard disk drive than can store 640GB of data on two platters, twice the capacity of the previous high-end offering.

The new 640GB Caviar SE16 drive, with 16 MB cache, can provide sustained rates of 3 Gb/sec. for high-performance computing and multimedia applications, said company officials. The new drive costs US$140 and is currently available.

Western Digital in January unveiled a Caviar hard drive with a single 320GB platter, the line's highest capacity offering at the time. Also in January, the company unveiled a 320GB version of its My Passport Essential line of portable hard drives.

In a statement, Don Bennett, vice president and general manager of Western Digital's desktop business unit, said the new Caviar SE16 drive offers a hefty increase in storage capacity compared to two-platter drives from rival vendors.

"Today's common two-platter drives are limited to 500GB, but we are expanding capacity by 28 per cent on the same design," noted Bennett. "The 640GB capacity point will be an important one for our desktop customers."

Employing perpendicular magnetic recording technology, the new 640GB storage device supports Windows Vista and provides embedded data protection. The Caviar SE16 can store up to 182,800 digital photos, up to 160,000 MP3 songs, up to 77 hours of high-definition video, and up to 280 hours of DVD quality video, the company said.

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