FREMONT, Calif.--Cirrus Logic Inc. here today said it has begun shipping samples of a highly integrated hard-disk controller that contains everything needed for a complete disk drive except pre-amp, motor drivers, and flash memory.
Cirrus Logic said its new 3Ci controller is the first single-chip disk drive solution fabricated in 0.25-micron process technology. The second-generation 3Ci controller integrates a partial-response-maximum-likelihood (PRML) read-channel for data acquisition up to 550 million bits per second, an Ultra DMA100 ready disk controller and an ARM 32-bit RISC processor core that handles both system and servo control functions.
Compared to existing 0.35-micron 3Ci controller designs, the new controller's read channel core is up to 65% faster and the chip is capable of supporting 100-Mbytes data transfers, Cirrus Logic said. The Fremont chip company said the new quarter-micron controller is expected to extend its sales in hard-drive controllers to consumer and enterprise-class computing markets.
The 3Ci controller design "will enable disk drive manufacturers to deploy a common electronics platform to address multiple market segments," said Art Swift, vice president and general manager of Cirrus Logic's Magnetic Storage Division. "Enabling the efficiency of a common platform will reduce a disk drive manufacturers' electronics design, firmware development and validation time, significantly accelerating time-to-market and reducing disk drive electronics costs," he predicted.
Cirrus Logic said a key achievement in the 3Ci design was the ability to integrate a complex mixed-signal read channel with noisy digital circuitry in standard CMOS technology. The company is currently shipping samples of a device that has a 450-Mbps read channel. In the second quarter of 2000, samples of a faster 550-Mbps controller will be available, Cirrus Logic said.
A new CC2 PRML algorithm is being used in the new read channel cores. The patented algorithm adds redundant bits to the data stream on the fly, resulting in improved detector performance, according to Cirrus Logic.
The 450 Mbps 3Ci platform, called the SH8671, is available now in sample quantities. It is housed in a 208-pin LQFP package and priced at $12 each in quantities of 100,000.