Hitachi warns end users removing Microdrive from iPod mini | iLounge News


Hitachi warns end users removing Microdrive from iPod mini

“Nguyen [Hitachi’s global storage technologies media relations head] stressed that her company’s $499 pricing for the hard drive at retail as a standalone item is ‘a suggested selling price only.’ She also said: ‘Standalone Microdrive products provide additional value over embedded products used in consumer electronic devices in their ability to be removed and used in a variety of different devices. Embedded Microdrive media is only designed to work in the device for which it was originally intended.’

The drives that ship embedded within devices are custom-built for Hitachi’s OEMs, and the features available inside the drives may not be as complete as those available at retail.

‘Some of the drives we ship today are used by consumers in products like digital cameras as removable storage: in other cases, the drives are designed inside devices such as MP3 players where the drive is not meant to be removed by end users.’”

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HA! The cat’s out of the bag now…

It’s liek when I was in Chemistry class back in High School and we had to combust Cocoa Puffs to find their caloric content…the teacher told us that they were ‘rated to give us diherea if we ate them” ...such bullocks and nonsense..

Nice try, Hitachi.

Posted by angry_black_man in Irvine, CA on March 8, 2004 at 11:09 AM (CST)


She just states the obvious, no details or explanation.

I mean the ones used byconsumer electronics are not meant to be removed by end user ... Duh! That is why there is not just a slot for it, but she does not outright say that it will not work. She says “may lack some features”. What the lawyery ambigous statement is that…

Posted by pbox in Irvine, CA on March 8, 2004 at 11:54 AM (CST)




Posted by steve in Irvine, CA on March 8, 2004 at 12:06 PM (CST)


It’s obvious from her statements that Hitachi is ripping people the hell off. If they can still make a profit selling the drive to apple, how much mark up is going on for the $500 dollar drive? It’s the same drive, $250 VS $500. ??????

Posted by pigpen65 in Irvine, CA on March 8, 2004 at 2:37 PM (CST)


That statement reeks of male bovine exrement.  Until someone cna point explicitly to some difference between one of these drives and the general purpose version I’ll just assume that Hitachi are trying to cover up the fact that their standalone microdrives are a ripoff.

Posted by Fenn in Irvine, CA on March 8, 2004 at 3:38 PM (CST)


  Its just like Apples 00 on everything it sells

Posted by apple r ripoff in Irvine, CA on March 8, 2004 at 4:24 PM (CST)


Wouldnt be nice if we have iPod mini with swapable microdrive (or CF flash) hard drives.

Posted by WoW in Irvine, CA on March 8, 2004 at 5:20 PM (CST)


Well, there are some reports that the microdrives work in some devices and not others.  Some people say it works on something and others try it and it doesn’t so there *may* be some truth in it. 

Also, these drives have firmware to make it more stream-lined with their intended application.  It’s something like SCSI drives for enterprise applications vs. IDE drives.  Or better yet, regular IDE drives vs. WD Raptor IDE drives.  The Rapters are meant for enterprise or very intensive use and they actually benchmark alot better than standard desktop IDE drive uses.

Posted by cabbit in Irvine, CA on March 8, 2004 at 11:52 PM (CST)



Here’s a quote from here:

“CF cards support 3 interface modes, Memory, I/O and IDE. the iPod drives are stuck in IDE mode and most cameras expect Memory or I/O mode. its part of the CF standard for the host to command the CF card what mode to go into at power on, but it appears that the iPod microdrive ignores this command, or at least my digital rebel does not issue the command.

i tried both putting the microdrive in my rebel and copying the partiton map, firmware and mountable partitions of the ipod onto my 1gb flash and putting that in the mini. neither worked.

it may still be possible to put a flash card in the mini though, apple may have not connected the pin that would command the flash card to go into IDE mode.

he claims that soon creative will be using these ‘special’ microdrives so the muvo2 hack will be disappearing as well.”

Posted by cabbit in Irvine, CA on March 9, 2004 at 12:11 AM (CST)


I have no doubt that embedded Microdrives may be different from standalone ones.  Maybe they have special drivers that disable them from being reformatted.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they actually made some embedded Microdrives just a tad bit bigger so that they wouldn’t fit in normal CF/Microdrive slots.

However, what is painfully obvious is that any such differences are, in fact, completely artificial.  These differences are manufactured with the sole purpose of making embedded drives unusable outside of their OEM purpose.  And the purpose of such “lockout” is to maintain the insanely high margins on standalone drives.

It’s that simple.  There is no technical reason why Microdrives cannot be portable between devices, embedded or not.  Hitachi needs to just come clean instead of coming off like a sleazy politician.  If they started to bring down Microdrive margins to a reasonable level, they would dominate the market and make them market leaders in the same way the iPod has made Apple a market leader.

Posted by tonicboy in Irvine, CA on March 9, 2004 at 5:34 AM (CST)


MuVo^2 have the 4GB MD’s that do work in dSLR cameras. Check out and watch him use his MD on his Son DSC-F828.

Up to this point in time, the MuVo^2 carried MD’s with a blank white face cover with only the words: ‘Hitachi 4GB Microdrive’.  However, the iPod Mini’s MD’s come with the same blank white face and words PLUS a serial and barcode printed on the front of the face as well.  These MD’s have been confirmed to NOT work with dSLR cameras. Reason is b/c Hitachi disabled the Memory and I/O mode (which cameras require to read/write) and are stuck on IDE mode.  Hitachi did this AFTER they realized the exploit done on the MuVo^2 (which was released two months before the Minis).

So.. Hitiachi is NOT ripping you off.  They specifically stated that the MD in the MP3 player was made and sold for the sole purpose of playing music.  They specifically stated they changed the MD to only read/write in IDE mode.  They sell the 4GB 3K4 MD at 499$ as a fully operational *retail* microdrive that reads/writes in all IDE, I/O, and Memory mode.  It is actualy the people who rip off Hitachi knowing that they can get the MD cheaper if they buy the mp3 player.  People shouldn’t whine if Hitachi finally designed an MD not to work on anything else expect the mp3 player.  This was done to stop people from exploiting them.

Posted by MuVo^2 User in Irvine, CA on March 11, 2004 at 4:28 PM (CST)


MuVo^2 User,

Please explain to me how people are EXPLOITING Hitachi by using something that they paid for legally.  If you buy a laptop, you are free to take out the hard drive and use it in any device with which it is compatible - this is not exploitation.  However, it still remains that Hitachi has made modifications to the Mini Microdrive with no other purpose than to prevent people from using it in other devices.

In this sense, they are using their monopoly position in the MicroDrive market to artificially control demand for standalone drives and thereby impose UNFAIR margins.  THAT, my friend, is exploitation.

Posted by tonicboy in Irvine, CA on March 11, 2004 at 5:08 PM (CST)


tonicboy - Hitachi does not have a monopoly of MDs.  There a many manufactures of MDs which they sell on their own terms.  Therefore, Hitachi does not have the ability to ‘arificially control demand’ since there is an alternative source for MDs.  If a user buys a product, they can do what ever they want with it.  Agreed.  Hitachi then do what ever they want with their product.  The door swings boths ways.  Your argurment expesses the flaw of ‘double standard’.  You used an idea of ‘monopoly’ incorrectly and should rethink your arguement.

Posted by MuVo^2 User in Irvine, CA on March 12, 2004 at 12:22 AM (CST)



You are absolutely wrong.  In the entire world, there is only one manufacturer of MicroDrives.  That used to be IBM, but then Hitachi bought the MicroDrive business from them, so now Hitachi is the only company which sells them.

As for ‘double standard’, I am not holding Hitachi to any standard that I am not also holding users to.  I do not claim that there manipulation of MicroDrives is illegal, but simply UNFAIR.

Imagine if you got hurt and needed to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance, and they charge you four times more than other ambulance companies.  You have no choice, because you need immediate help.  They are within their legal rights to charge you what they like, but it doesn’t change the fact that they are taking advantage of you UNFAIRLY.

Posted by tonicboy in Irvine, CA on March 12, 2004 at 5:56 AM (CST)


Tonic.  You are incorrect.  So far I have found three manufactures of MD’s - 1. Cornice 2. Toshiba 3. Hitachi.  Here is an article for proof:,1759,1454459,00.asp

Although you feel it is ‘unfair’ for manufacturerers to change their design, you imply it is fair for people to manipulate the purchase of the mp3 player just to take out the MD for other uses b/c it is simply cheaper to do so.  I still see the double standard in your arguement.  Your emotions on the issue cannot be used as a reason to push your arguement.

Lastly, your comparrision to a life-and-death situation is completely absurd.  You cannot compare the value of a life to the value of a MD unless you truly believe they are equal.

Posted by MuVo^2 in Irvine, CA on March 12, 2004 at 2:37 PM (CST)


Also forgot to add number 4.

4. GS Magicstor :

BTW: ‘MicroDrive’ is a registered trademark name under IBM/Hitachi , it can’t be used as a general name but the idea still stands for what is actually a real micro-sized drive.

Posted by MuVo^2 User in Irvine, CA on March 12, 2004 at 2:58 PM (CST)



Cornice, Toshiba and MagicStor each make their own “mini-drives”, but these are NOT MicroDrives.  They are different products altogether.  They have as much in common with MicroDrives as xD cards have in common with SD/MMC cards.  This is important because many digital cameras are made to be compatible with IBM/Hitachi MicroDrives but not Cornice or Toshiba “mini-drives”, so those drives are not equivalent and cannot be said to be “alternative sources”.  So yes, Hitachi absolutely has a monopoly on the MicroDrive market.

Finally, if I have to actually explain to you that I am NOT comparing a life to a MicroDrive, then this thread is a waste of my time.

Posted by tonicboy in Irvine, CA on March 12, 2004 at 4:15 PM (CST)


Explain this:

Posted by MuV0^2 in Irvine, CA on March 12, 2004 at 4:30 PM (CST)


And explain this:

Posted by MuVo^2 in Irvine, CA on March 12, 2004 at 4:32 PM (CST)


Your link explains the situation very clearly:

“This mini-drive is produced by GS Magicstor Inc. ... I would be remiss if I failed to state that there seems to be some real problems with the Magicstor drives. A search of online discussion forums, my own and the DP Review forum, show there are quite a number of users reporting problems with digital cameras that function normally with IBM and Hitachi microdrives”

The MagicStor drive is clearly a “clone” product which only tries to imitate the Hitachi MicroDrive.  Not only is it NOT a MicroDrive, it has many, many compatibility problems as you can see here:

Posted by tonicboy in Irvine, CA on March 13, 2004 at 6:04 AM (CST)

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