Seagate Technology is continuing its expansion into the notebook market by releasing what it says are the largest high speed hard drives in the industry.

The Momentus 5400.2 and 4200.2 line now includes models of 120Gb running at 5400 revolutions per minute (RPM) and 4200 RPM respectively.

The Moments 7200.1 line has a 100GB drive that runs at 7200 RP

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All three models also come in optional Serial ATA versions.

“Now we are going to have a complete line of 2.5-in. notebook drives,” said Mark Walker, a Seagate product marketing manager.

The 7200-speed models are best suited for desktop replacement and mobile workstations, he said, while the 5400-speed models offer a combination of performance and power consumption.

While the bulk of its sales go to OEM manufacturers, Walker said the new drives will also appeal to the small but growing market of system builders who make whitebooks.

Seagate sells drives to system builders through distributors, all of which carry five-year warranties.

According to Evans Research, the whitebook market in Canada is modest, but increasing by about six per cent a year.

Last year about 122,800 whitebooks were sold. This year it expects that to increase to 130,200. By comparison, 817,000 notebooks from OEM manufacturers were sold, which is expected to increase to 866,000 this year.

Evans analyst Michelle Warren noted that brand-name manufacturers are “coming to market with pretty aggressive pricing,” making it tough for system builders.

Walker acknowledged that whitebook makers want to know how they can make a profit on a sub-US$1,000 notebook, which is what some brand-name manufacturers are selling in the U.S today. The answer, he said is “they can’t.”

Instead they should focus on markets that aren’t brand-name sensitive, such as the home and SMB business segments. They should also remember there’s money to be made in selling laptop accessories such as printers, mice, monitors and cases.

Warren advises whitebook makers to get out and beat the drum for their products. “They’re products are good,” she said. “The public just needs to know that.”

Seagate has only been in the laptop hard drive market for a year and a half he said. According to the company’s figures it has about eight per cent of the worldwide market, behind leaders Fujitsu and Toshiba. “It takes some time to adopt a new player,” Walker said.

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