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Electronic Design

Chip Set Does It All For Small Disk Drives

Miniature disk drives with form factors ranging from 1.8 to 0.85 in. often lack the full suite of functions needed to support the mechanical head-and-disk assembly. The TrueStore chip set hopes to fill that void.

Developed by Agere Systems, the chip set includes the read-channel, preamplifier, a motor controller, and a hard-disk controller (see the figure). It can handle data-transfer rates of up to 350 Mbits/s, enabling support of current 4-Gbyte capacity drives as well as future-generation drives with capacities of 12 Gbytes and larger.

When active, all three chips consume approximately 400 mW. Such low power consumption helps extend the battery life of portable systems that incorporate drives based on the chip set.

The RC1100 read channel and controller chip provides high signal-to-noise ratio performance to ensure data integrity during drive read and write operations at higher area densities. It also incorporates powerful error-correction codes to ensure data integrity.

The companion PA1100CE preamplifier consumes as little as one-third the power of similar chips used in the 2.5-in. hard drives. Also, it can be used with either giant-magnetoresistive (GMR) or tunneling GMR heads. The MC1100 motor controller includes features such as fast emergency retract, which parks the drive's heads upon sensing a physical shock or loss of power to the drive.

In large quantities, the chip set will sell for less than $10, including firmware and support. Samples of the RC1100 are available now. The PA1100 and MC1100 will ship in the late first quarter and second quarter, respectively.

Agere Systems

TAGS: Components
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