It might seem odd that when the world's first liquid-cooled hard drive is developed the companies behind it should trumpet it as being quieter, rather than more efficient or faster. But that's the motivation behind the new device from NEC and Hitachi of Japan.

The new drive combines Hitachi's water-cooling techniques with NEC's PC design to reduce operating noise from 30db to 25db. Apparently, that's quieter than a home DVD recorder, leading the firms to claim computers using the drive will be ideal for multimedia applications.

Sound dampers

This is achieved by replacing the standard HDD cooling fan with a heat-radiating metal sheet and a coolant-filled plate attached to the surface of the drive. The fact that cooling air does not need to pass over the drive means that it can be wrapped in sound-damping material.

New PCs containing the HDD technology and liquid-cooled CPUs will be available from NEC in Japan this autumn for around ¥20,000 (£83) more than standard desktop machines.