Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST) has started shipping a new version of its 1-inch. Microdrive hard disk drive, which can hold 50 per cent more data than its current highest-capacity model.

The 6GB version of the drive costs $299, compared with the $499 price of past Microdrive products. The company is also lowering the price of its 4GB Microdrive to $199.

The Hitachi drives are currently used in a number of portable consumer electronics devices, including the iPod mini.

Hitachi has revealed plans to launch drives that are capable of holding 8GB and 10GB of data. In addition to offering more storage space, the drives will also occupy about 20 per cent less volume than current models, said Bill Healy, senior vice president of product strategy and marketing at HGST.