Hitachi has today confirmed their 2 and 4 GB Microdrive (Compact Flash Type II). IBM Storage Technology and Hitachi Storage merged at the beginning of the year. At that time Hitachi Glboal Storage Technologies (HGST) announced that they would have a 4 GB Microdrive by the end of the year, today they have officially confirmed that they will be producing a 2 and 4 GB Microdrive. These higher capacities are made possible using Hitachi's patented "Pixie Dust" surface layer technology. Note that the 4 GB card will only work with a digital camera which supports the FAT32 filesystem. The 4 GB card will hit the shelves this November at a price of $499 (just $0.12/MB), a third of the price of Lexar's 4 GB 40x.

Click here for our previous coverage of the 4 GB Microdrive

Click here for the Hitachi 4 GB Microdrive Datasheet (PDF)

FAT32 compliant cameras *

  • Canon Powershot G3
  • Canon Powershot G5
  • Canon Powershot S45
  • Canon Powershot S50
  • Canon EOS 300D
  • Canon EOS 10D
  • Canon EOS-1Ds
  • Kodak DCS 720X (requires PCMCIA adapter)
  • Kodak DCS 760 (requires PCMCIA adapter)
  • Kodak DCS Pro Back
  • Kodak DCS Pro 14n
  • Olympus E-1
  • Sony DSC-F828

* Does not confirm compatibility with the Hitachi Microdrive

Press Release:

Hitachi ships high performance 4GB Microdrive; continues to innovate in storage miniaturization

4GB Microdrive yields 70 percent increase in performance from previous generation

SAN JOSE, Calif., August 25, 2003 – Hitachi Global Storage Technologies today announced that it is now shipping qualification samples of its 4GB Microdrive to consumer product manufacturers worldwide. The one-inch diameter drive features a data transfer rate that represents a 70 percent increase from the previous-generation Microdrive. The new drive will also continue its tradition of offering a significantly lower cost-per-megabyte than competitive solid-state memory solutions.

Hitachi’s 4GB Microdrive is the world’s smallest hard disk drive, weighing just over a half an ounce (16 grams) and equivalent in size to a matchbook. The miniaturized hard drive is designed for users who demand maximum capacity for storing large quantities of high-resolution digital photos and video, MP3 music, electronic games and other large files. The data storage available on the 4GB Microdrive is roughly equivalent to a full-length DVD movie or 75 hours of high-quality digital music.

Consumer product manufacturers that are evaluating the 4GB Microdrive for compatibility with current and future products include Blaupunkt, Kodak, Minolta, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Sigma and Sony. Many of these industry-leading companies already support Hitachi’s current-generation Microdrive in their consumer electronic devices.

"As we migrate into a world of mobile computing and communications, we will see significant growth in portable devices that use more data and have greater storage requirements," said J. Gerry Purdy, Ph.D., principal analyst, MobileTrax. "The new 4GB Hitachi Microdrive provides the capacity necessary to satisfy the skyrocketing need for affordable, high-capacity data storage in portable devices."

Miniaturization Leadership

The 4GB Microdrive is a major storage capacity breakthrough and the first of many storage miniaturization advancements that are being made by Hitachi’s world-class product design and development team. The new drive will use ultra-miniaturized
components, including a new read-write head that is half the size of its predecessor and results in a 40-percent decrease in the height at which the head travels above the disk platter. The new head technology, called the femto slider head, opens up a next generation of head slider technology.

The 4GB Microdrive is an illustration of Hitachi’s commitment to leadership in the high-growth area of storage miniaturization. “Microdrive has been the crown jewel of our miniaturization efforts for the past five years,” said Tsuyoshi Takahashi, general manager, Emerging Markets Business Unit, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. “There is nothing else available on the market that offers a better combination of storage capacity, compact size, performance and affordability.”

Product Compatibility and Availability

Hitachi's new 4GB Microdrive, (officially known as the Hitachi Microdrive 3K4 series), is designed to the Compact Flash Type II industry standard and is compatible with a wide variety of devices that accept CF+ Type II media. The 4GB Microdrive is formatted at the factory using the FAT32 file system to remedy the 2GB limitation of the FAT16 file system. Therefore, when used in a digital camera, the camera must support a FAT32 file system. For additional information about the new Microdrive, please visit:

Hitachi will continue to offer its current 1GB Microdrive to customers throughout the world and is planning to introduce a 2GB version of the Microdrive later this year. The company expects the new 4GB Microdrive to be available on retail shelves in major markets this November at a MSRP of $499.

Hitachi will participate, through its development partners, in major industry events such as IFA Berlin in August to demonstrate the 4GB Microdrive and discuss the underlying technology in greater detail.

Hitachi 2 & 4 GB Microdrive Specifications

Product name • Microdrive 3K4-4 (4 GB) - HMS360404D5CF00
• Microdrive 3K4-2 (2 GB) - HMS360402D5CF00
Interface CF+ (ATA and PCMCIA compatible)
Capacitiy 4 / 2 GB
Sector size 512 bytes
Disks 1
Areal density 56.5 Gbits/inch²
Recording density 628 KBPI
Track density 90 KTPI
Data buffer 128 KB
Rotational speed 3600 rpm
Latency average 8.33 ms
Media transfer rate 57.1 - 97.9 Mbit/sec (max)
Interface transfer rate 33 MB/sec (max)
Sustained data rate 4.3 - 7.2 MB/sec
Seek time • Average: 12 ms
• Track to track: 1 ms
• Full track: 22 ms
Reliability • Error rate: <1 per 1.0 E 13 bits transferred
• Start/stops (at 40 °C): 300 K
Power (3.3 V supply) • Requirement: +3.3 VDC, +/- 5%
• Current (write): 305 mA
• Current (standby): 16 mA
• Power consumption efficiency: 0.055 watts/GB at idle
Power (5 V supply) • Requirement: +5 VDC, +/- 5%
• Current (write): 314 mA
• Current (standby): 18 mA
• Power consumption efficiency: 0.090 watts/GB at idle
Dimensions 42.8 x 36.4 x 5 mm (1.7 x 1.4 x 0.2 in)
Weight 16 g (0.6 oz)
Environment (operating) • Ambient temperature: 0 to 70 °C (70 °C top cover temperature)
• Relative humidity (non-condensing): 8 to 90%
• Max. wet bulb (non-condensing): 29.4 °C
• Shock (half sine wave): 200 G / 2 ms
• Random vibration (RMS): 0.67 G (5 - 500 Hz)
• Vibration (swept sine): 1.0 G (0 - Peak)
Environment (non-operating) • Ambient temperature: -40 to 70 °C
• Relative humidity (non-condensing): 5 to 95%
• Max. wet bulb (non-condensing): 40 °C
• Shock (half sine wave): 2000 G / 1 ms
• Random vibration (RMS): 3.01 G (5 - 500 Hz)
• Vibration (swept sine): 5.0 G (0 - Peak)