Western Digital unveils 'green' hard drives

Storage giant Western Digital has unveiled a new range of 'green' hard drives that it claims will reduce energy consumption by 40 per cent.

In addition, the GreenPower range will help reduce costs by as much as $10 per drive, per year, according to its maker.

The GreenPower family includes a hat-trick of power-saving technologies, the first of which is called Intelliseek.

"This is optimising the movement of the head. It's not seeking as fast as possible, it's seeking just in time," said Daniel Mauerhofer, Western Digital's senior manager of public relations.

"It's a smooth movement and uses less power, but it's always there for the data when it has to be."

The second power saver is called IntelliPower, which strikes a balance between spin-speed, transfer rate and cache "to get optimal performance while maintaining low power," according to Mauerhofer. This means the disk usually spins at less than full pelt. "It's spinning closer to 5,4000 than 7,200[rpm]," he added.

Finally, IntelliPark automatically unloads the heads while the disk is idle, to reduce aerodynamic drag.

Mauerhofer admitted that companies rather than individuals will benefit most from the power savings. "For a single user this may not look like a lot," he said. "But when you're an IT manager with thousands of disks around Europe, that makes a big difference."

He also insisted that performance isn't overly compromised, claiming it offers 98 per cent of the performance of a 750GB drive from rival Seagate.

Barry Collins

Barry Collins is an experienced IT journalist who specialises in Windows, Mac, broadband and more. He's a former editor of PC Pro magazine, and has contributed to many national newspapers, magazines and websites in a career that has spanned over 20 years. You may have seen Barry as a tech pundit on television and radio, including BBC Newsnight, the Chris Evans Show and ITN News at Ten.