New Agere Systems Storage Chip Increases Disk Drive Capacity for Portable Consumer Devices Through Superior Perpendicular Recording Performance
TrueStore' CE system-on-a-chip designed to support perpendicular recording for increasing storage capacities beyond 12 gigabytes in 1.0-inch drives
Brings exceptional power savings and industry-standard CE-ATA and MMC interfaces to small-form-factor drives
ALLENTOWN, Pa. Building on its leadership in providing silicon for high-capacity storage in consumer electronics (CE), Agere Systems (NYSE: AGR) today announced a new highly integrated system-on-a-chip (SoC) tailored for miniature hard disk drives used in portable CE devices. This low-power chip provides complete support for perpendicular recording and new interface standards to enable small-form-factor drive designs that offer three times the capacity of flash-based storage at lower cost.
The enormous popularity of hand-held consumer appliances that use high-capacity storage – from digital music players to mobile phones and digital cameras – is challenging the disk drive industry to develop unique solutions that meet rapidly evolving application demands and compete effectively against flash. Perpendicular recording techniques represent the most effective way to increase storage space in thumbprint-sized drives, allowing portable media products to expand beyond digital music to incorporate video and other high-capacity files that require multiple gigabytes of storage.
The latest product in Agere’s TrueStore' CE chip set family, the SC1200 SoC brings together multiple drive functions, perpendicular recording support, as well as CE-ATA and multimedia card (MMC) host bus interface options – all in a single, integrated solution. As new small-form-factor drive designs incorporate perpendicular recording, Agere’s chip offers a 0.5 dB performance advantage over competing SoCs, translating to nearly 10 percent more capacity. For 1.0-inch disk drives –the most popular miniature drive size on the market – Agere’s SC1200 can enable more than 12 gigabytes of storage, a 3x improvement over today’s flash memory.
“Clearly, consumer applications present the most exciting opportunity we have ever seen in the disk drive industry, and Agere’s standard product SoC offers a wealth of features for increasing storage capacities and reducing battery drain in portable products,” said Joe O’Hare, vice president of Agere’s Storage division. “Miniature drives using our TrueStore CE chip can deliver gigabytes in the double digits, enabling portable devices to store feature-length movies, video games and other applications not economically possible using flash.”
The market for small-form-factor disk drives is the fastest growing of all the disk drive form factors. Industry analyst firm IDC expects that 1.8-, 1.0- and 0.85-inch drive shipments will grow from 17 million units in 2004 to 149 million units in 2009 for a compound annual growth rate of 53.7 percent.*
Interface options and battery savings that set the standard in portable CE
Storage SoCs perform the critical task of managing the transfer of data onto and off of a disk drive. With its highly integrated architecture – which combines read channel and hard disk controller electronics, host interface, I/O and memory – no other single silicon solution exists in the electronics industry to match a storage SoC’s analog and digital complexity, high volume requirements, and price pressures. These chips play an even more critical role in the portable CE segment, as miniature drives continue to incorporate SoC designs to reduce power, improve board space and lower cost.
Agere’s SC1200 SoC is tailored to the design requirements of portable CE devices, including support for CE-friendly interface options. The SC1200 leverages existing ATA and compact flash interface controls to provide support for MMC and the new CE-ATA specification. CE-ATA defines a cost-effective standard interface with low pin count and voltage requirements, and Agere’s solution meets the highest performance standards of this spec while also offering 3.3- and 1.8-volt configurations for low-power operation.
In addition, drive designers can leverage the SoC’s architecture and reference firmware across multiple form factors, including 1.8-, 1.0- and 0.85-inch drive programs, delivering the best possible capacities and improving time-to-market.
The SC1200, in combination with Agere’s TrueStore CE preamplifier, motor controller and reference firmware, delivers all of the critical electronics required by drive designers. The entire chip set operates at 350 megabits per second and features very low power consumption, extending battery life vital to handheld CE designs. In addition, powerful error correction codes in the SoC provide more robust signal processing, helping drive developers boost drive capacity and yield.
Agere is the industry leader in read channel ICs and storage SoCs for the fixed and portable consumer electronics markets, and has design wins with the majority of 1.0-inch and 1.8-inch storage manufacturers. More than 18 million 1.0-inch storage devices on the market today contain Agere chips.
Package options, availability and pricing
Space savings is a critical requirement in these miniature drive designs, and Agere’s SC1200 offers a 30 percent reduction in die size compared to Agere’s previous-generation SoC design. Agere offers drive developers a number of package and integration options, from VTFS ball-grid array packages, to stacked or offset multi-chip modules, to bumped die configurations.
Sample quantities of the SC1200 are expected to begin shipping in early 2006. Pricing for the SC1200 begins at US$10 in sample quantities.
About Agere Systems
Agere Systems is a global leader in semiconductors for storage, wireless data, and public and enterprise networks. The company's chips and software power a broad range of computing and communications applications, from cell phones, PCs, PDAs, hard disk drives and gaming devices to the world’s most sophisticated wireless and wireline networks. Agere's customers include top manufacturers of consumer electronics, communications and computing equipment. Agere's products connect people to information and entertainment at home, at work and on the road -- enabling the connected lifestyle.
For more information, customers may visit Agere's Web site at www.agere.com or contact one of Agere's regional sales offices. Customers in the U.S. may also call the Agere Systems Customer Response Center at 1-800-372-2447. Customers in Canada may call 1-800-553-2448. Customers outside those countries may call 1-610-712-4323. Fax inquiries may be directed to 1-610-712-4106, or e-mail queries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Written inquiries should be sent to Agere Systems, Room 10A-301C, 1110 American Parkway NE, Lehigh Valley Central Campus, Allentown, PA, 18109, USA.