Hitachi GST is back at it again this week with another update to its disk drives, this time with a redesign of its desktop SATA and PATA drives for power efficiency. Hitachi claims the updates to its silicon on the new Deskstar P7K500 drive can reduce the drive’s power consumption by up to 40 percent–or down to as low as 6 watts when active and 2 to 3 watts while idle.
The new specs were accomplished in a couple of different ways, one of which is the use of a new system on a chip model for power modules, and changing the power regulator on each drive from a linear architecture to a switched one. The moves were made with the new Energy Star 4.0 spec for PCs released in July, which allots a “budget” of 50 watts in idle mode for the whole system while idle, of which it’s estimated 8.3 go to the disk drive. With the new 250 GB version of the Deskstar, Hitachi is claiming a draw of 3.6 watts in idle mode, and 4.8 watts for the 320, 400 and 500 GB models.
This savings won’t necessarily make a dent in anyone’s home electric bill, according to Lee Johnson, 3.5-inch Product Marketing Manager for Hitachi. “But with the additional watts left over, PC makers can use that added wiggle room to design PCs with more RAM, more features on the motherboard, or a higher processor clock speed,” she said.
Hitachi plans to add similar power-savings technology to its enterprise-class drives, but IDC’s John Rydning says that may not necessarily be practical–nor lead to significant cost savings in enterprise disk systems.
“At the enterprise level there’s not a lot of impact on the overall system by reducing idle drive power draws,” he said, noting that turning drives completely off through MAID is the way the enterprise is headed. “But if you’re a large enterprise organization with hundreds or thousands of PC workstations, this might make a difference.”