Electronic Design

CE-ATA: Tiny Hard-Disk Standard

Today's compact hard drives have custom interfaces. Integrated drive electronics (IDE) and other such interfaces simply have too many pins to be practical. As for serial ATA, it's too new and a bit costly in terms of power and hardware.

The up-and-coming alternative, CE-ATA, is under development by companies from the CE-ATA Work Group. These companies include Intel, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, Marvell Semiconductor Inc., Seagate Technology, and Toshiba America Information Systems, as well as the MultiMedia Card Association (MMCA).

CE-ATA uses the same electrical interface as the MultiMedia Card (MMC), with modifications to handle a functional subset of the Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA) command set. This permits existing microprocessors with MMC interfaces to readily handle CE-ATA devices, though they will require a new CE-ATA device driver. In the future, microprocessors may have two MMC interfaces, with each supporting only one device.

The CE-ATA 1.0 specification will be finalized soon. Initial products are likely to arrive in 2005.

TAGS: Intel
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