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IBM announces mobile hard drives

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(IDG) -- IBM Corp. next quarter will introduce a revamped Travelstar family of hard drives for notebook computers, the company announced Tuesday, promising users faster, quieter models.

IBM's upgraded Travelstar family incorporates a noise suppression system, replacing the ball bearing design with fluid dynamic bearing spindle motor technology and voice coil motor dampening enhancements.

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The Travelstar 48GH is a 48G-byte drive with a spin rate of 5,400 revolutions per minute and media transfer rates up to 241 megabits per second, according to an IBM release. The Travelstar 30GN (in 30G- and 20G-byte capacities) and 15GN (in 15G-, 10G- and 6G-byte capacities) have slower 4,800 rpm speeds, but are smaller -- 9.5 mm high versus the 12.5 mm height of the 48GH. IBM said the Travelstar 15GN is quieter during its read/write operation than its predecessor is while idling.

IBM plans to ship the drives in the second quarter of 2001, using it in its own notebooks and selling to other manufacturers, including Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. Pricing information was not immediately available.

IBM is billing the revamped Travelstar line as "the world's quietest" family of hard drives. The company has a history of trying to stay at the leading edge of microelectronic component manufacturing, and was among the first to start replacing aluminum with copper in chips. Though IBM did not break out chip sales in its quarterly consolidated financial statement, the company said that last year, microelectronics revenue increased strongly, mainly as a result of accelerated growth for sophisticated, leading-edge custom chips.



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