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Hitachi Releases World's Most Energy-Efficient HDD 118

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the fewer-hamsters-required dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Today Hitachi released what they are calling the 'world's most energy efficient desktop hard drive' capable of reducing the active and idle power consumption by up to 40 percent over the previous generation." The drive will come in a range of flavors starting at 250GB and ranging to 500GB. Hitachi is promising these drives in high volume later this year.
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Hitachi Releases World's Most Energy-Efficient HDD

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  • Okay, Less Power (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Monday October 22, 2007 @02:09PM (#21074683)
    Okay, less power. But what have you given up in the trade-off?
    • your wallet (Score:5, Insightful)

      by reaktor (949798) on Monday October 22, 2007 @02:11PM (#21074709)
      You can bet these will be more pricey.
      • Flamebait?! (Score:2, Insightful)

        by luder (923306) *
        The parent is at least a tiny bit funny and insightful, but flamebait? Lot's of stress around, I see... Maybe because it is monday.
    • Three obvious things (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ciroknight (601098)
      A) These drives were basically designed for datacenters, so you can look at paying out the teeth for them.
      B) Latency. Nowhere did they mention the "wake-up" time from the Low RPM mode, but you can guarantee it's horrendous. "Average Latency" as the specs say, only tell you what happened during test conditions, conditions very unlikely to put it into Low RPM mode.
      C) Density. Cutting edge drives are more dense.


      If I were Google, these might sound like attractive trade offs.
      • by More_Cowbell (957742) on Monday October 22, 2007 @02:41PM (#21075173) Journal

        A) These drives were basically designed for datacenters, so you can look at paying out the teeth for them.
        Actually I doubt that. From TFA, they are 7200rpm SATA drives. In data centers this is really not what you will find.
        All servers in data centers are running 15000rpm these days. Mostly SCSI until recently, in my experience.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          Perhaps in prebuilt systems and database servers, but it's more common than you'd think to just slap a bunch of SATA drivevs in raid 10 or raid 5 with a decent 3ware card managing the array. A decent sized(say, 300gb, because that's what's on newegg right now) 15k RPM SCSI drive from seagate will cost you $700. Why spend $1400 on 300gb of storage(you do need rendundancy if you need a 15k RPM drive), when you can spend the same money on a larger, faster array?
          • by afidel (530433)
            Because it's only faster in raw throughput, not random reads, and if it's RAID-5 not writes either. While everything has its place most midsized and larger shops are going to have a lot of $ wisely invested in 10&15k drives. We use SATA for DR, archival storage, and disk to disk to tape, and that's about it. Not everyone is Google where you can design your app to run in ram with disk as a backup or a startup that builds their own file servers.
          • by Lennie (16154)
            Actually 3ware isn't a very good SATA-RAID-card brand.
            • by Agripa (139780)

              Actually 3ware isn't a very good SATA-RAID-card brand.

              Which ones are then? I have actually had very good results with my old 7500 series 3ware (PATA, not SATA) cards although I would purchase differently today or maybe go with Linux or BSD based NAS.
        • by dosguru (218210)
          SCSI? What sort of backwards datacenter are you in? We (and our peer companies) use 95%+ FC or SATA2. SCSI drives were so 1990s....
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by monsted (6709)
          SAS for the win.

          Now if only they'd all worked together and stuck with one serial standard instead of two very slightly different ones so we wouldn't have cheap SATA (that won't work with the good drives) and expensive SATA+SAS controllers...

          I want a couple of SAS (well, faster 10k) drives for my OS and SATA (well, slower, high capacity)drives for my bulk data, using one of the cheapish controllers...

          The whole distinction between SATA and SAS is silly anyway, since the interface makes little difference. We h
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CastrTroy (595695)
        That doesn't really strike me as the first application of these drives. For something like a laptop, I could see it being very useful, where power usage is extremely important, and you don't mind waiting for the disk to spin up. In a datacentre, you most likely aren't going to be running the drive under conditions where it would have time to slow down, or you wouldn't be willing to make the sacrifice in speed that slowing down the drive would bring.
        • by pv2b (231846)
          What kind of laptop do you have that uses 3.5" drives? :-)
          • What kind of laptop do you have that uses 3.5" drives? :-)
            A peni^W "desktop replacement", I'm guessing. There is still a market for luggable computers [wikipedia.org] for people who want a powerful portable PC that can be moved from desk to desk, including mobile creative people and LAN party gamers.
        • You know, I'm not sure if I agree or not. On the one hand this may be a case of "when all you have is a hammer"; energy savings drive sales right now, at least according to those funny marketing clowns and so H has a drive aimed squarely at that market. And that market is datacenters for 3.5 in drives. Latency? MTBF? Nah, we got low average power usage bragging rights from our testing, right here! On the other hand, without a comprehensive, large scale redesign of the way datacenters are conceived and
      • > "These drives were basically designed for datacenters, so you can look at paying out the teeth for them."

        If its being used in a data center, what is the likelyhood that it will be able to "low-idle" for any length of time?

        More likely these are for getting the "Energy Saver" sticker on desktop computers that have higher-consumption video, cpu, etc. Of course, just turning off the computer before going home will save more energy than leaving everything on during "down time", but too many people like

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by graphicsguy (710710)
          If its being used in a data center, what is the likelyhood that it will be able to "low-idle" for any length of time?

          What percentage of Google's data do you think is actually being accessed at any given time? I'll bet most of the queries are for a small percentage of the data, plus most accesses are to the indexes and not to the actual data caches.
          • by trolltalk.com (1108067) on Monday October 22, 2007 @03:10PM (#21075595) Homepage Journal

            Lets go back to what I originally stated - that these drives are probably NOT for data centers.

            From the summary of TFA:

            > "Today Hitachi released what they are calling the 'world's most energy efficient desktop hard drive'

            These are probably NEVER going to go into data centers, at least not under any sort of warranty.

            • by dosguru (218210)
              Drives are cheap, it's the SAN hookups that are expensive. Our 80TB Sun array (Tier II Storage) is full of the same Hitachi disks that I have in my desktop. However, Sun provides the advanced controlers and software to make sure we have zero downtime.
      • I've heard "paying through the nose" but not "paying out the teeth".

         
    • Guessing higher seek times, if it isn't spinning at full speed during idle.
    • Okay, less power. But what have you given up in the trade-off?

      You buy Deathstar (now Hitachi Global Storage Satan Dataeater DeathStar [wikipedia.org]). It works really well for about a year, to trick you into storing vital data on it and then goes from making funny noises to total failure in a matter of hours.

      Actually when Deathstars decide to destroy your data they actually do a much more thorough job than DOD 5220.22-M [microsoft.com]:

      http://www.astro.ufl.edu/~ken/crash/index.html [ufl.edu]

      Note that the drive has scraped all the magnetic oxide off the glass platter and deposited it the bottom of the drive.

      • by operagost (62405)
        The drives you're satirizing were fixed with a firmware update and haven't been manufactured in years. I'll bet you still make exploding Pinto jokes.
      • by Wolfrider (856)
        o It's not a bug, it's a FEATURE!
         
        // Makes mental-note to sell this to the Govt for last-second security situations ;-)
        :b
  • claims that it's the world's most energy efficient desktop hard drive and reduces the active and idle power consumption by up to 40 percent over the previous generation.
    But comparing which hard drive / manufacturer to who, yourself to yourself?
  • And how does it compare to say, solid state hard disks?

    This post not meant to be insightful or funny, I really want to know.

    • by soldack (48581) <soldacker&yahoo,com> on Monday October 22, 2007 @02:55PM (#21075383) Homepage
      My bet is that solid state drives do much better. Moving parts consume a lot of power.
      http://news.digitaltrends.com/news/story/12556/samsung_announces_64_gb_solid_state_drive [digitaltrends.com]
      "...consumes just half a Watt when operating (one tenth of a Watt when idle)"

      vs. from the article:

      "Through a 40-percent power reduction, Hitachi GST has delivered unmatched idle power utilization of 3.6 watts on the 250GB capacity model and 4.8 watts on models with capacities of 320GB or greater. Similarly, the P7K500 has reduced its active power requirements to 6.4 watts and 8.2 watts for its one- and two-disk models, respectively. By utilizing roughly half the 7 watts of idle power typically allocated for hard drives..."
      • by evilviper (135110)

        My bet is that solid state drives do much better.

        They do better, but not by a lot.

        Moving parts consume a lot of power.

        Chips consume a lot of power.

        "...consumes just half a Watt when operating (one tenth of a Watt when idle)"

        It's really pretty easy to cut power consumption if you're willing to drastically cut performance as well.

        • by soldack (48581)

          It's really pretty easy to cut power consumption if you're willing to drastically cut performance as well.

          If you look at performance per watt, the SSD looks pretty good.
          The SSD article noted above claims, "the 64 GB unit can read 64 MB/S, write 45 MB/s"
          while the traditional harddrive noted in the post claims, "1138 Mb/s max. media data rate" or 142 MB/s. By the way, I highly doubt it can sustain that but lets just say it can.

          If we compare reads vs. reads, we get 64 MB/s in 0.5 watts vs. 142 MB/s in 6.4 watts or:
          SSD=128MB/s/watt vs. traditional harddrive=22MB/s/watt

      • by tcgroat (666085)
        At 2.80W idle and 3.45W active for 128GB capacity, this SATA flash drive [sandisk.com](pdf warning, power specs on pg. 9) uses slightly more W/GB than the Hitachi drive, but less than most mechanical disks. Hats off to Hitachi for delivering low power consumption with decent performance! If the other parts of our desktops were as efficient, we wouldn't need 300W PSUs for systems that do little more than email and web browsing.
  • okay. (Score:2, Funny)

    but can they get rid of that horrible grinding noise?
  • by Gordo_1 (256312) on Monday October 22, 2007 @02:23PM (#21074907)
    but for most desktops and servers, at 6-8 watts idle and 10-12 watts when actively seeking, HDD power consumption typically represents 5% or less of the overall power consumption of a modern system. Good PR for Hitachi though.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CastrTroy (595695)
      My laptop uses on 20 watts while operating, so cutting out 6 watts would be quite beneficial.
      • > "My laptop uses on 20 watts while operating, so cutting out 6 watts would be quite beneficial."

        I know its not usual to read the articles, but could you (and everyone else) at least read the summary?

        The summary makes it clear these are for desktops, not laptops, data centers, or anything else.

        FTFS: "Today Hitachi released what they are calling the 'world's most energy efficient desktop hard drive"

        • The summary makes it clear these are for desktops, not laptops, data centers, or anything else.

          And to clarify (since the Original Article's title is wrong): these are announced as the most efficient desktop hard drives, because laptop hard drives are already much more efficient than desktop hard drives. In fact, if you want to build an energy efficient desktop, a good way is to use a laptop hard drive with an adapter.

          • by gmack (197796)

            In fact, if you want to build an energy efficient desktop, a good way is to use a laptop hard drive with an adapter.

            Actually thanks to SATA the adaptor is no longer needed. They have the same plug now.

            • The power connectors seem to be still different. Also you probably
              need some kind of mounting bracket to keep the drive physically in place,
              unless you have a case designed for the smaller laptop drives.
              • by gmack (197796)
                Your right about the mounting bracket although my power connector seems to work fine but then I use the SATA power connector.
              • the power connectors are ordinary sata power connectors (note: many desktop sata drives have the old 4 pin connector as well as the specific sata one, laptop ones don't).

                You do indeed need a mounting bracket and at least with the suppliers I use getting said mounting bracket requires buying a laptop IDE to desktop IDE adaptor as well.

      • by evilviper (135110)

        My laptop uses on 20 watts while operating, so cutting out 6 watts would be quite beneficial.

        Your laptop hard drive is far more efficient than desktop hard drives. There probably isn't even 6 watts to be cut from your notebook's hard drive power consumption to begin with.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Skapare (16644)

      Portable drives powered via the USB connection can take more power than USB permits. Get the drive well under that level and you wan't need to use those double-USB cables.

    • A typical desktop would idle at around 60W and peak at around 150W, so it is more like 10% of overall power consumption. A single-GPU gaming system (high-end CPU, GPU, mild overclocking) might consume about twice that.

      Those >600W PSUs are just for people who need to psychologically compensate for something.
  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Monday October 22, 2007 @02:23PM (#21074909)
    OK, I've read the article, but he important question was not addresses: Will it run Linux, or XP for that matter, or does it get some of it's power savings by the same technique some new notebook drive do, embedded flash memory that is only supported in that awful Vista and not XP?
    • by tsbiscaro (888711)
      Damn man, you turn the most funny joke ever into a serious question.
    • by Rolgar (556636)
      Nah, the real question is if these are affected by the same patent as all the other drives that we won't be buying soon because of patent infringement [slashdot.org].
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by pclminion (145572)
      Will a hard drive run Linux... I quote Babbage: I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by frovingslosh (582462)
        Maybe you are new here. The question is a classic one, and the meaning should be well understood by most readers. It is less clear but far more relevant to this group than the more wordy "but will Linux or XP be able to use this drive". And I explained the issue in the text body. Can you ever forgive me for the confusion that I have caused you?
        • by maxume (22995)
          From the article:

          "The 7200rpm SATA hard drive"

          That pretty much means that any computer with a SATA port can use it, and SATA pretty much means that any modern OS can run on it/make use of it.

          The question is questionably classic, but it definitely isn't classic when it is asked stupidly.
          • Are you sure the question was asked stupidly? Or was it perhaps answered rudely (and maybe incorrectly)? For example the Seagate Momentus 5400 PSD Laptop Hybrid drive is one of the drives that contains 256MB of flash memory and is said to be only usable under Vista, and yet it's specs claim it has a SATA 1.5GB/s interface (note that this is a notebook drive and not a 3GB/s desktop drive). So if I was so stupid in asking this question, how do you explain the specs of the Seagate Momentus? And let me ask anot
            • by maxume (22995)
              What the hell? The seagate/hybrid/readyboost stuff is a complete non sequitur. I imagine Hitachi(I am presuming that you are talking about Hitachi when you talk about a drive maker positioning themselves, I don't know) isn't making hybrids because the pieces of that particular puzzle aren't really anywhere near being in place, and they don't think they will make money by supporting it now. I guess you could be reaching for 'does linux take advantage of the hybrid features?', but I don't know in what world p
            • by pclminion (145572)

              Are you sure the question was asked stupidly? Or was it perhaps answered rudely (and maybe incorrectly)?

              I don't see how the answer was rude, given that I didn't SUPPLY an answer. It just seemed a good opportunity to bust out one of my favorite quotes. A hard drive that actually "runs Linux" would be awesome, though.

              Back to the point, if it doesn't work in Linux, it soon will. That's just the way of it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 22, 2007 @02:24PM (#21074925)
    We have a closet full of hard drives, some of which have consumed zero Watts for about a decade.

    How's that for energy efficient?
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      When I was working for the government during one of my co-op terms, they what was basically a fridge full of hard drives. They had this giant SAN, that took up an entire rack cabinet. I asked about it, they said it wasn't even turned on. Great use of tax payer dollars right there. Buy a giant SAN, just to use up the budget, but they don't even have any use for it. That machine was using about 0 watts, as it wasn't even plugged in.
  • Maybe it will be on the Christmas wish-list of all environmentally-conscious or budget-strapped geeks everywhere. Because they don't have time to release it for anything else.
  • My understanding of how computers are powered is limited, but if the drive requires less power will the power supply draw less power from the outlet? I would have thought that PSUs draw a constant amount.
    • by owlstead (636356)
      Yes. No. If you leave it on of course, and if the drives won't spin down completely (which they normally won't, too many services etc.). This is why I'm going for a flash/hdd combination, so the HDD can spin down.
    • by Quadraginta (902985) on Monday October 22, 2007 @02:37PM (#21075099)
      I would have thought that PSUs draw a constant amount.

      Goodness, no. The current the power supply draws from the wall varies with the amount of power it's being asked to supply. You can easily verify this yourself by noticing how much hotter your laptop gets when you're making it do a lot of work. The heat it puts out is the final form of the energy the power supply draws from the wall (or the battery).
    • The output of a 450W psu (power supply unit) can vary from zero (in theory) up to 450W. The psu will provide whatever power is demanded by the internal components.
    • My understanding of how computers are powered is limited, but if the drive requires less power will the power supply draw less power from the outlet? I would have thought that PSUs draw a constant amount.
      That can't be true because it violates the principle of conservation of energy [wikipedia.org].
      • by d12v10 (1046686)
        Not if it output the excess amount of power in the form of heat, which seems like what they're doing now.
  • Silent (Score:3, Informative)

    by owlstead (636356) on Monday October 22, 2007 @02:28PM (#21074981)
    It's not very noisy either, although it won't match silent 2,5 " drives by a long shot. So it's not that great for fan-less systems and all that.

    This range of drives:

    2.6/2.8 dB typical idle acoustics

    WD Scorpio (pretty silent 2,5 " HDD @ 5400 rpm):

    2.0 typical idle acoustics

  • Okay, so it's evergy efficent. That'll make al gore happy. anything for the rest of us?
    • by ianare (1132971)
      If the price is low enough, most definitely. We use SATA RAIDs for our 'medium grade' file servers, a 40% reduction in power (and corresponding reduction in electric bills) is a huge deal. Each server is hooked up to 16 drives total, so the biggest power draw by far is from the drives, not the mobo/processors - it's not like file servers need a huge amount of processing power.

      The price is what makes or breaks how good this will be, but we are certainly looking forward to testing these.
      • okay, let me clarify: What makes it so appealing to a 15-year old high schooler or hardcore gamer not using a server or mainframe of any sort. What makes it appealing to the common geek?
        • by compro01 (777531)
          (slightly) lower power bill, the whole "i'm doing good for the planet" feeling, computer runs cooler (requires fewer fans and makes for a quieter computer) but other than those, i don't really see a whole lot of benefit to J. Random geek.
        • Nothing at the moment. But with a bit of work they could make a hard drive that kills your wares collection between the time that copyright police start to break down your door to the point where they actually beat your ass down and seize the PC.

          http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=335643&cid=21075965 [slashdot.org]
        • by ianare (1132971)
          For a high-end gaming platform, probably not much of an advantage, as this type of setup typically uses obnoxious amounts of power for basically everything except the hard drive. For a media sharing PC or other type of home server which is always on, it would be a better fit.
    • by argent (18001)
      Cooler computers? Computers that last longer on UPS?

      I can't play computer games in the summer because my "Wintendo" generates too much heat for my AC unit. This isn't much of a problem for me, I'm not much of a gamer, but anything that can reduce AC power per unit of computer power is all to the good.
  • WD's got one too. (Score:2, Informative)

    by eddy (18759)

    WD's got one in their series named for german scheisse-pr0n: Caviar GP [techreport.com]. 4W idle, capacities up to 1TB.

  • More efficient than SSD'?

    (yes I know you can't get SSD's of this size yet, but size isn't the focal point here)
    • by mlts (1038732) *
      SSD based storage probably is more efficient because they require no power to spin up and keep running a mechanical spindle and platters or move a read/write head.

      Something tells me perhaps the best of both worlds would be a drive that (I think IBM) was working on that had a large array of small read/write heads, and read data by shifting the platter on a x-y plane, where the whole array of heads could pick up bits at the same time as opposed to the 4-8 of a normal spinning HDD.
      • by pv2b (231846)

        Something tells me perhaps the best of both worlds would be a drive that (I think IBM) was working on that had a large array of small read/write heads, and read data by shifting the platter on a x-y plane, where the whole array of heads could pick up bits at the same time as opposed to the 4-8 of a normal spinning HDD.

        I always wondered why they don't do that for optical drives. That could certainly improve performance. Even with two read heads you could stamp your CD-ROM reader with 104 X max. :-)

        The reason

        • by Wolfrider (856)
          --Yep. I don't burn anything at >24-32x (and shop AROUND for 32x-max cdrom drives/burners) because I had a LIBRARY CD *shatter* in my crappy 52x CDROM drive a few years ago. True story.
           
          //Thanks God the library was understanding -- it was a "Queen" audio cd
  • I think that while a power-cutting hard drive for desktops, workstations, and servers is a great idea, I think that would be much more critical for a laptop, since power is its biggest limiting factor (i.e. the obvious). Why don't companies focus on maximizing flash storage for higher performance in these settings? That way, servers can not only get completely awesome read speeds, but hopefully boosted write speeds at rates comparable to platter-based hard drives. Or, at least until that idea substantiates,

  • High volume (Score:5, Funny)

    by amRadioHed (463061) on Monday October 22, 2007 @03:14PM (#21075645)

    Hitachi is promising these drives in high volume later this year.
    Damn, I was hoping that the drives would be quieter too.
  • Speed, Efficiency, Cost: pick two.
    • by phil4 (666912)
      No, I am sure they can manage all three: high speed, high efficiency, high cost. No problem.
    • Exactly, I'm not impressed anymore when a company focuses on a single problem like efficiency and makes a whole series of products around it, ignoring other attributes. I'd be all for Hitachi if they took this capability/technology and just incorporated it into every drive they sold from here on out. That would be impressive and a significant step forward, rather than trying to exploit one specific group of people with a specialty product.
  • by Godji (957148)
    But how does it compare against Western Digital's 1TB Green Power drive?
  • Can they use this to make an external USB drive that doesn't get hot enough to fry bacon, even when no data has been transferred to/from it for hours?

    Cause that drives me nuts.

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