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Sat 5 Aug 2000 04:00 AM

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Quantum steps down disk speeds to 4400 rpm

Quantum has stepped down the speed of its desktop drives, seeing gains in noise-level reductions and the ability to increase the amount of data on a single platter.

Quantum has stepped down the speed of its desktop drives, seeing gains in noise-level reductions and the ability to increase the amount of data on a single platter.

The company’s latest Fireball product, the lct15, is also expected to increase reliability by reducing the biggest culprit in the creation of heat—a rapidly spinning motor.

“What we believe is that, for a hard drive the most important thing is reliability. If you don’t have a reliable environment to secure your data, then it doesn't mean anything.

"Even though the price of the hard drive may only be US$100, the data you put on there may be worth $1 billion. This is so critical and so important,” said Cagatay Kilic, Quantum’s sales manager for the Middle East region on a recent visit to Dubai.

Longer Life

“We can reduce the heat directly proportional to the speed of the motor, because it is the only thing producing the heat. The more hot the motor runs, the more the life of the motor comes down and the reliability of the other components comes down,” he added.

Another key thing with high disk speeds, is the noise. Although hard disks may not appear very noisy in an office environment, you transfer that disk to a camcorder or a video playback machine, and the noise suddenly becomes quite critical.

“When we talk about the lct15 everybody says, OK, you have 4400rpm so you reduced the performance. No we didn’t, we optimised it,” said Kilic.

In fact, according to Quantum, the a massive benefit of slowing down the spin rate of a disk is that it is easier for the head to read the surface of the platter. When you couple that with the shrinking of the cell size on the surface of the platter, in order to create more density, Kilic believes you can put up to 40 Gbytes on a single platter.

At those densities, a drive spinning at 5400rpm or 7200rpm would never be able to read effectively, so the theory goes.

Seek Time

“The only concern is that the new disks have a 12m/s seek time. This makes the end user suspicious. It is a little bit slower if we compare [it to drives with a faster spin rate], but for end users it is no different actually, because we are not capable of feeling the difference of milliseconds.

"And for the end user, less than 10% of the performance difference is not recognisable at all,” Kilic said.

At the time of going to press, Quantum announced that it has complemented the Fireball lct 15 with the Fireball lct20, a drive that has 20 Gbytes per platter, and runs slightly faster at 4500rpm rather than 4400rpm.

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