Hitachi Global Storage Technologies is the latest storage drive vendor to jump into the 500GB, two-platter, environmentally friendlier, 2.5-inch-wide mobile drive market.

The company Tuesday unveiled two new 500GB mobile hard drives that feature reduced 1.4-watt power consumption and halogen-free construction.

The Hitachi announcement came a few hours after competitor Fujitsu Computer Products of America Inc. announced its own 500GB, two-platter 2.5-inch drives earlier Tuesday.

Larry Swezey, director of hard disk drive marketing and strategy at the San Jose-based subsidiary of Hitachi, said the two new drives also offer improved shock tolerance, performance and power savings over previous models.

The Travelstar 5K500.B model is a standard notebook drive that will ship by next month, while an "enhanced-availability" model, the Travelstar E5K500.B, is intended for blade servers, network routers and other 24x7 uses, according to the company. That model will be available some time in the first quarter of 2009.

Pricing for both models will be announced later, Swezey said.

Another key feature of the Travelstar 5K500.B notebook drives is that they'll offer optional Bulk Data Encryption (BDE) to provide increased data security for users. BDE encrypts the data using a private security key as it's written to the disk, according to Hitachi, then decrypts the data as it is retrieved.

The new drive will meet upcoming storage security standards and specifications established by the Trusted Computing Group to better protect stored private data, Swezey said.