Western Digital aims high with its latest Caviar hard drive - a 100GB, 7200-rotations-per-minute monster it's announcing this week and shipping in August. The new drive is the first to offer 100GB at the speedy 7200rpm, although Maxtor recently released a 100GB drive running at a slower 5400rpm. The Caviar drive uses three 33GB platters with technology tricked out to reach 100GB of storage. Similarly, Seagate recently launched an 80GB drive using two 40GB platters. The Western Digital drive will carry an estimated retail price of £210. That's not cheap. But users who want more than just capacity--those who want the performance to go with it--will be willing to pay, says Richard E. Rutledge, vice president of marketing for Western Digital. The company is targeting the enthusiasts, the same people who want the latest graphics board from Nvidia and the fastest processor from Intel, he says. Supplying speed with storage The beauty of a 7200rpm hard drive over a 540-rpm drive is clear, he says: "There's less of that annoying hourglass," in an obvious reference to the Microsoft Windows icon. Western Digital offers 7200-rpm drives in 30, 40, 60, and 80GB sizes, too. Customers' strong reception to the 80GB drive Western released in March pushed the company to announce its 100GB drive. With 100GB of storage, even an enthusiast shouldn't have to worry about running out of space anytime soon. According to Western Digital, the new 100GB drive can hold a combination of 1800 digital photos, 4 hours of digital video, 40 hours of digital music downloads, 18 digital games, and 30 software programs. Analysts estimate that hard drive makers sold about 36.5 million drives in the first quarter of 2001, Rutledge says. Of those drives, he claims about two-thirds were the faster, more expensive 7200-rpm models that are Western Digital's focus.