This summer IBM will introduce a revamped Travelstar family of hard drives for notebook computers, promising faster, quieter laptop PCs.

IBM announced yesterday that the upgraded Travelstar family will incorporate a noise suppression system. This involves replacing the previous ball bearing design with fluid dynamic bearing spindle motor technology and voice coil motor dampening enhancements.

There will be three models – the 48GH, 30GN and 15GN. The Travelstar 48GH will be a 48GB drive with a spin rate of 5,400 revolutions per minute and transfer rates up to 241Mbs (megabits per second), according to IBM.

The Travelstar 30GN (in 30GB and 20GB capacities) and 15GN (in 15GB, 10GB and 6GB capacities) have slower 4,800rpm speeds, but are smaller - 9.5mm high versus the 12.5mm height of the 48GH. The 15GN would seem to be whisper-quiet though - IBM said it is quieter during read/write than its predecessor was while idling.

Travelstar next-generation drives should appear in IBM, Compaq, Dell and HP notbooks in the second half of this year.

For a fascinating brief look at the past and future of storage, take a look at this article in IBM Research's magazine.