Compiled by Dean Takahashi, Times staff writer

Bigger and Better: Western Digital Corp. in Irvine has begun shipping production quantities of a hard disk drive with 540 megabytes of data, enough to store 270,000 single-spaced typewritten pages of paper.

The disk drive, which is expected to be one of the company’s primary weapons in a highly competitive industry, is targeted to customers who buy high-end personal computers with fast chips such as Intel Corp.'s Pentium processors.

Computer maker Gateway 2000 is Western Digital’s initial customer. To date, Western Digital has shipped more than 1 million disk drives from the previous generation of Caviar drives, which stored 340 megabytes.