Electronic Design

High-Performance Disk Drives Pack Plenty Of Fast Storage

A combination of high rotational speeds and some of the highest bit-packing densities (7.7 Gbits/in.2) in use by commercial disk drives lets the Atlas 10K II series of drives deliver capacities of up to 73.4 Gbytes while dropping the seek time to as little as 4.7 ms.

These 3.5-in. drives offer nearly double the available capacity and a 10% to 15% performance improvement over the company's previous 10,000-rpm series of disk drives. They also incorporate active bus, hot-pluggable interfaces with domain validation for automated bus management. The SCSI version provides an Ultra 160 backward-compatible interface that can tie into Ultra2, Ultra, and Fast SCSI systems. And for the highest-performance systems, drives come with Fibre Channel (FC-AL2) interfaces.

Drives are available in four capacity levels—9.2, 18.4, 36.7, and 73.4 Gbytes. They employ internal cache buffers of 8 Mbytes that let them sustain a data-transfer rate of 40 Mbytes/s and burst rates of up to 160 Mbytes/s. To ensure data integrity, the drives provide 352-bit Reed-Solomon double-burst error-checking and correction on-the-fly, as well as thermal sensing to prevent overheating.

Additionally, cyclic-redundancy checks are performed on both commands and data. These drives include the company's shock-protection system as well, which guards against one of the leading causes of hard-disk failure—mistreatment during handling and integration.

Targeted for use in servers, workstations, and network-attached storage subsystems, the Atlas 10K II drives deliver top-notch performance. Additionally, they operate at low noise levels, reducing the need to add sound baffling in the enclosures. Idle noise is typically between 3.7 to 3.8 bels, while seeks add another 0.3 to 0.4 bels to the noise level.

The 9- and 18-Gbyte drives come in a 1-in. high format, while the 36- and 73-Gbyte drives are full-height units. In the idle mode, the drives consume 9.7 W (9- and 18-Gbyte units), 10 W (36 Gbytes), and 14.3 W (73.4 Gbytes), and slightly more when performing seeks. Initial sample prices are $325, $480, $720, and $1300, respectively.

Quantum Corp., 500 McCarthy Blvd., Milpitas, CA 95035; Brendan Collins, (408) 894-4000; www.quantum.com.

See associated figure.

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