GENEVA--In the battle to support higher density hard-disk drives, STMicroelectronics N.V. here today announced a fully functional CMOS read/write channel IC that supports data rate over 500 megabit per second.
STMicroelectronics said the L6361 is its first full CMOS read/write channel chip. The IC is fabricated in a quarter-micron process technology, which results in lower cost, less power consumption and higher performance, according to the European chip company.
"The L6361 paves the way for a smooth transition to the next level of super-integration and performance enhancements, which are benefits of ST's research into advanced technologies for Data Storage," said Aldo Romano, corporate vice president and general manager of the company's Telecommunications and Peripherals/Automotive Group.
The 0.25-micron CMOS chip integrates a Partial Response Maximum Likelihood (PRML) read channel path, based on an advanced 16-state Viterbi detector and coding scheme for enhanced signal-to-noise (SNR) performance. This performance will enable disk drive makers to store more data on a single platter for higher-density storage, said STMicroelectronics, which calls the L6361 a fourth-generation read channel IC.
The chip also used a proprietary Interpolating Timing Recovery scheme and eighth-order low pass filter (LPF), said the company. In laboratory tests have demonstrated top speeds of 650 Mbit/sec. and further evaluation is ongoing, according to STMicro.
"Super-integration is the key in the high volume hard disk drive market to reduce the system cost," said Franco Berenga, vice president and general manager of the Data Storage Division at STMicro. "In addition, it is possible to increase the level of miniaturization for the mobile market, including the emerging microdrive, and to improve the SoC system-on-chip performance by optimal partitioning among the different blocks integrated into a single device."
STMicroelectronics' announcement comes on the heels of this week's introduction of a new read channel IC device with 1dB gain SNR by Marvel Semiconductor Inc. in Silicon Valley (see March 14 story), and a recent disclosure of a so-called "superchannel" device by Texas Instruments Inc. (see March 2 story).
According to a forecast from Forward Concepts in Tempe, Ariz., the integrated DSP/reach channel IC market is expected to reach $1.5 billion in 2000 and grow to $2.7 billion in 2004--essentially taking over the embedded function from microcontroller-based devices.