The trend towards high-capacity laptop disk drives continues, with Seagate launching an updated Momentus drive that boosts capacity from 160GB to 250GB.

The new 2.5in Momentus 5400.4 version version includes two disk platters and 8MB of cache, and it can spin at speeds of 5,400rpm, the company said. The new version of the storage device is currently shipping, Seagate said.

The updated hard drive uses perpendicular magnetic recording technology and offers a 3Gbps interface - a sizeable jump from the Momentus 5400.3's transfer rate of 1.5Gbps, said Joni Clark, senior product marketing manager for Seagate. The 160GB Momentus 5400.3 was introduced in 2006.

Seagate's new laptop hard drive faces fierce competition from the products from the likes of Western Digital, Samsung Electronics, Hitachi, Fujitsu and Toshiba, which are also boosting capacity of laptop disk drives amid steadily dropping prices, observers noted.

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Hard-disk price cuts can be traced to a groundswell of interest in solid-state and NAND flash memory technology from vendors like BitMicro Networks, Micron and others, according to survey data released by iSuppli last autumn.

Clark noted that Seagate also plans to establish a firm foothold in the flash memory business, pointing toward a declaration last August by the company's CEO, Bill Watkins, about plans to produce solid-state drives in 2008.

In October, Seagate introduced a hybrid disk and flash memory drive, the Momentus 5400 PSD, or Power Savings Drive.

Clark hinted at the release of another hybrid drive by mid-2008. "Our plan is to say that you can have a hybrid drive or a solid-state drive from Seagate," she said.