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WD starting production of 160GB/Platter disks?

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The Belgian site announces that WD would start the production of 160GB/platter disks, and that the new series would have a capacity ranging from 40GB to 500GB. In the low end, that would make some serious short stroking :D

http://www.matbe.com/actualites/13960/plat...estern-digital/

Of course, all this was to be expected. I'm a bit doubtful about the capacities...

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Article translated to English (with babelfish.altavista.com):

"Plates of 160 Go at DIGITAL Western

Tanguy Andrillon | 31/07/2006 | 13:22:58

The manufacturer Western DIGITAL begins the production in volume from his new generation of hard disks WD Caviar Serial ATA of 3,5 inches equipped with plates of 160 Go. This new range of discs will lay out of technology "Ramp Load" exit of the models for portables and allowing to arrange the read/write heads when the disc is extinguished, at rest, and even in rotation. This technology makes it possible to protect the data but also to decrease consumption.

Hard disks WD Caviar of the new range will turn to 7 200 tpm, will have of an interface SATA II 300 Mo/s, 16 Mo of buffer memory and NCQ (Native Queuing Command). They will be available with capacities going from 40 to 500 Go as from September."

______________________________

So, the industry is finally making the long expected(*) transition to ramp load/unload technology that was introduced to desktop HDDs first time in the infamous 75GXP. Not that it's a bad thing since IBMs from 120GXP onwards have been reliable and so have been Hitachis based on IBM Vancouver design (and new Kurofune design also).

(*) It has been so much expected that actually some people already though it have happened already. Quite many people have been living in a misconception that all HDDs from all manufacturers since 75GXP moved their heads outside of platters' outer diameter(**) prior to spindown. Before the DM17 (which haven't received much hype, probably thanks to Seagate acquisition) this was true only for 3.5" IBMtachis and 2.5" (and smaller) laptop drives of all manufacturers'. Maybe the DM17 was especially designed for OneTouch enclosures? It's performance isn't great but USB drives don't need high performance drives.

(**) I've read that DiamondMax 8/+8 had some unload mechanism as well, but it wasn't on the outer diameter but on the inside. These drives were 1 platter, 1 head variants only, so the ramp was hidden beneath the platter as the only head is below the platter as well. The ramp is probably attached to HDD casting but I've not seen any autopsy photos to confirm the excistence of such inner diameter unload ramps, just some manufacturer documentation. Of course inner diameter unload is impossible (or at least significantly harder) to implement on a multiplatter system, so DM9/10/11 series don't have the feature.

Any thoughts? Do you think that contact start/stop (CSS) drives will prevail or will ramp unload (non-CSS) eventually become industry standard?

Edited by whiic

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Guest 888
Any thoughts? Do you think that contact start/stop (CSS) drives will prevail or will ramp unload (non-CSS) eventually become industry standard?

Hard to say... In example my storage servers have been running from 1 to 3 years now without even a single stop/start during this time. Only the inital start and drives are 24/7 online since that. Good electricity supply plus UPS and no problems. I think in such kind of pro-applications this ramp-load technology isn't very necessary. Except maybe when the heads are parked on ramp also during the drive spinning when there have been no requests in some time.

But in consumer drive, especially in external enclosure which as always gets rough handling, there I think, this technology is very reasonable still...

BTW, I have also heard (from other sources) that the new flagship drive for WD will be 640GB (4x160GB platters).

Edited by 888

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This is going very off-topic but I managed to find images depicting DiamondMax 8's unique(?) inner diameter unload ramp.

http://www.aurora.se/hard-disk-crash-image...sk-crash-25.htm

http://www.aurora.se/hard-disk-crash-image...sk-crash-26.htm

IBM style outer diameter unload ramp:

http://www.aurora.se/hard-disk-crash-image...sk-crash-31.htm

And a close-up picture of the head-stack:

http://www.aurora.se/hard-disk-crash-image...sk-crash-33.htm

And one picture of a drive with conventional CSS landing zone:

http://www.aurora.se/hard-disk-crash-image...sk-crash-05.htm

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"I think in such kind of pro-applications this ramp-load technology isn't very necessary."

Yeah. Probably insignificant benefit in enterprice applications.

"Except maybe when the heads are parked on ramp also during the drive spinning when there have been no requests in some time."

An unloaded head cannot crash, true. Benefit from unloading requires though that access to the drive is infrequent (if there's much activity, it has to be unevenly distributed to allow long enough periods of idling).

But desktop computers could also benefit from idle-time unloading, especially for a storage drive (when OS is installed onto another disk).

"But in consumer drive, especially in external enclosure which as always gets rough handling, there I think, this technology is very reasonable still..."[/]

I agree on that. In addition, unloading heads allows extra power management modes and cooler operation of external drives without increasing number of start/stop cycles (which could strain the drives more than leaving it idling). Load/unload technology allows a use of shorter spindown timeout counter than with CSS based technology... especially if only a partial spindown is used. (Hitachi drives have a low-rpm mode that reduces rpm to 5000.)

I hope these new drives, DM17 and upcoming WD, will support APM (Advanced Power Management) and be configured into power saving modes through use of Hitachi Feature Tool (FTOOL) or other third party utility. Hitachi's APM implementation is a very nice feature indeed. Not the easiest thing to use(*) but offers nearly limitless degree f customization.

(*) What makes it hard to use is that used power management settings are not just defined by the value in APM register (values 128 to 255) but also the previous setting that was entered. This allow independent configuration of both unload idle and low-rpm unload idle power saving modes.

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Is the 160GB/platter-number a very hard fact-number?

Did they stretch the number up to 167GB/platter to make a 3-platter, 500GB-model or is the 500GB-model 4 platters?

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Guest 888
Is the 160GB/platter-number a very hard fact-number?

Did they stretch the number up to 167GB/platter to make a 3-platter, 500GB-model or is the 500GB-model 4 platters?

In fact these are 167GB platters (and precisely, even more if to format them to the physically possible far end), so the 500GB new WD would be a 3-platter drive. This upcoming series has also codename "Rev Level EX167" which very directly refers to the 167GB platters.

Looks like today's main capacity points for HDD's world (Seagate, Maxtor, WD, Hitachi new series) are becoming just:

160GB : 320GB : 500GB

And the secondary capacity points (with one head/platterside omitted) are:

80GB : 250GB : 400GB

The capacities above 500GB are still disputable which points of them are becoming more popular and technological. In example 640GB : 800GB : 960GB sound pretty logical in that row but Seagate's 750GB on 188GB platters is already a bit in other world. But if it is 4x188 then why they didn't make 3x188=560+GB and 2x188=370+GB?Probably marketing reasons of course. But I think the larger drives would still grow on using 200GB or 240...250GB platters someday very soon.

Edited by 888

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Guest 888

So here's the official press release from WD:

WD in Volume Production of 160 GB-Per-Platter Desktop Hard Drives

http://www.wdc.com/en/company/releases/Pre...9-DF8A6E93CCAA}

And one more interesting press release from WD:

WD in Volume Production of 80 GB-Per-Platter Mobile Hard Drives using Perpendicular Magnetic Recording Technology

http://www.wdc.com/en/company/releases/Pre...2-A7F536029C85}

So, unbelievable but true, also WD goes perpendicular now!

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Guest 888
Are these 160GB platters using perpendicular technology because I do not see a mention of it on Western Digital's website for them. They are mentioning it for their 2.5" platters though.

It's an open question also for me yet... But I speculate they are not perpendicular.

But, there's even more questionable aspects...

Does the headline "WD in Volume Production..." mean that they are already mass producing these new drives?

And even more, it's very possible that we will not notice when these new drives appear on market. Just because of drive model code system WD is using: Their drive model name does not change as long as the capacity, cache, interface are the same! Even if the drive is totally redesigned internally. In example WD5000KS deciphers as "WD 500,0GB 16MB SATA2". Currently it is based on 4x133GB platters (with little short-stroking included). But now when the new 3x167GB platters drive appears, it is still 500,0GB 16MB SATA2 and so logically will have just the same WD5000KS name! The essential changes inside may be detected only by the suffix-code added after that name (this must be changing anyway). For the current models the full codes are in example WD5000KS-00MNB0, WD5000YS-01MPB0, WD3200KS-00PFB0 and so on. Anyway we must start to look at these suffixes now. Unfortunately most of the distributors and retailers do not mention these suffixes in their databases...

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It seems that while the 2.5" drives use perpendicular technology, the 3.5" drives achieve that data density with improvements to longitudinal technology. Its's not unfeasible that they could achieve 160 GB platters without resorting to perpendicular recording, and if it works out cheaper for them, and performance is similar, who cares?

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Guest 888

There's a 160GB WD drive with new model code appeared:

WD1600AAJS

http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.as...254&language=en

All tech data given for it is still completely identical to WD1600JS, even the buffer-to-disk speed.

Yes, I know, the AAJS is just simply the new suffix (according to their new drive codes scheme from Dec'2005) for current JS suffix. But I feel some extra thoughts inside me...

Why they took this new code just now and for this 160GB Caviar SE drive only? It sounds very logical that just now WD has started to produce one-platter 160GB drives! And to create some different identity for it, WD felt it's just right time to implement their already-planned new code! The transfer speed may be just copy-pasted and forgot to correct, may-be...

This is just my own very rough speculation only, just made on-the-fly now...

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Any thoughts? Do you think that contact start/stop (CSS) drives will prevail or will ramp unload (non-CSS) eventually become industry standard?

IMO load/unload technology is the only technology possible if drive makers want to delve deep into the terabyte realm. Heads will be getting SO close it won't really be possible to keep a roughened spot for the heads to land without the heads hitting it on the way there.

But I don't really know when that will happen.

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WTF? "Buffer to disk (single platter) 475 Mbits/s (maximum)" ... that's like 59 MB/s on the outer tracks and even less if that buffer to disk transfer rate doesn't include track-to-track seeks, etc. And why would 1x 160GB platter be that much slower than 2x 160GB platter?

If it was 2x 80GB vs. 2x 160GB, I'd understand the difference (475 vs. 748), but 1x 160GB vs. 2x 160GB and the two-platter variant has 57% increase in STR.

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Guest 888
WTF? "Buffer to disk (single platter) 475 Mbits/s (maximum)" ... that's like 59 MB/s on the outer tracks and even less if that buffer to disk transfer rate doesn't include track-to-track seeks, etc. And why would 1x 160GB platter be that much slower than 2x 160GB platter?

If it was 2x 80GB vs. 2x 160GB, I'd understand the difference (475 vs. 748), but 1x 160GB vs. 2x 160GB and the two-platter variant has 57% increase in STR.

What I read from these specs:

1) single 80GB platter = 475 Mb/s (59 MB/s - matching with test* results of WD800JD = 59...60 MB/s)

2) single 160GB platter = 592 Mb/s (74 MB/s - matching with 1-platter 160GB Seagate 7200.9 drive)

3) multiple (what GB?) platters = 748 Mb/s (93 MB/s - this number I can't explain...)

[*] http://www.ixbt.com/storage/wd800jx.shtml

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Yeah... Apparently I misunderstood the meaning of the document.

Still there's much I don't understand. For example:

SATA: 7200rpm => 4.2ms average latency.

PATA: 7200rpm => 5.5ms average latency.

To me that's a big WTF since rotational latency depends on rpm and on rpm alone and nothing else.

Latency = 0.5/((rpm)/60)

(For all 7200rpm drives: latency = 0.5/(7200/60) = 0.5/120 = 4.17ms.)

rpm = 0.5/((latency)/60)) so if latency is 5.5ms (as WD claims for PATA version), the rpm is 0.5/(0.0055/60) = 5454rpm. Not quite 7200rpm.

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Guest 888
Still there's much I don't understand. For example:

SATA: 7200rpm => 4.2ms average latency.

PATA: 7200rpm => 5.5ms average latency.

To me that's a big WTF since rotational latency depends on rpm and on rpm alone and nothing else.

Yes, that's really a mystery... But we know here well WD is world-famous in messing up the information on their datasheets. Remember in example the NCQ information, wrong photos, model code deciphering, drive noise decibels, etc...

So, very probably here's just their another copy-paste trick - the latency taken from 5400 rpm drive datasheet. Also, if to look at "drive ready time" on the same datasheet excerpt here: for SATA it is printed 9sec and for ATA 7sec!

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after i've read the wd's press release about 160gb/platter disks in august i emailed wd about these drives.

according to the customer service the new drives will be available during november, shipping in volume in germany.

but i'd say that customer from the us will be able to get their hands on these babies earlier.

i'm being on edge about these drives and can't wait to get two new caviar se16 320gb drives. it's about time that wd finally releases some caviar drives with ncq.

any news on perpendicular recording?

Edited by RaZz!

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I own a WD3200KS-00PFB0 (ie, the old standard SE16 320), and I wanted to add a second matched drive from a different batch as a raid set. However, for almost two months, the 3200KS was completely unavailable and now they've started shipping again. It seems likely the new ones have 2x 160 platters instead of 2.5x133. Can anyone confirm? If they are, I'd probably be better off getting two new drives.

Edited by JasperJ

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I ordered a 3200KS last week, at a webstore in Germany. I expect to get it tomorrow or so.

You're right, they were hard to get until now. So big chance it's a 160GB-platter one. :)

How can I check if it is a 133 or a 160 platter?

-I'll let you know as soon as I found out.

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Guest 888
How can I check if it is a 133 or a 160 platter?

Test it with HDtach. If the STR speed at the beginning (max) is about 67 MB/s then it's the old style (which I think it still is). For 160GB platters the STR must be 75...82 MB/s max.

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