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IBM Improves "Pixie Dust" for Double the Magic

Architects New Mobile Hard Drive Performance Category

SAN JOSE, Calif. - 06 Nov 2002: IBM today introduced the world's highest capacity mobile hard disk drive at 80 GB -- made possible by enhancements to the company's patented "Pixie Dust" technology, boosting storage density by 100 percent.

As part of the same family of products, IBM also announced plans for a new 7200 RPM performance category, offering workstation performance with freedom of mobility.

The new Travelstar 80GN breaks current areal density records by allowing up to 70 billion bits of data to be written on each square inch of disk space. IBM achieved this by adding another coating of "Pixie Dust" -- or an additional ruthenium/magnetic layer to create a five-layer sandwich called laminated-"Pixie Dust." These additional layers bring about an even higher signal-to-noise ratio which allows data recording at ultra high densities while maintaining data integrity. With this new data density record, IBM is quickly approaching the 100 gigabits/square inch the company predicted "Pixie Dust" would achieve in 2003.

Announced last year, "Pixie Dust" is an IBM data storage breakthrough achieved by sandwiching a three-atom-thick layer of the element ruthenium, a precious metal similar to platinum, between two magnetic layers -- technically called antiferromagnetically-coupled media. That only a few atoms could have such a dramatic impact caused some IBM scientists to refer to the ruthenium layer informally as "Pixie Dust."

The Travelstar 80GN is based on proven reliability and a mature design with high shock robustness and low power consumption. And a new 8 MB cache contributes to making the 80GN the world's highest performing 4200 RPM mobile hard drive. In addition, IBM reduced drive operating acoustics by as much as four decibels, continuing the Travelstar 80GN's leadership as the world's quietest mobile hard drive. The 80GN will be available in 20, 40 and 80 GB capacities. IBM has begun to ship sample Travelstar 80GN drives to customers, with volume shipment scheduled for January 2003.

"You won't find a mobile hard drive on the market today more technologically advanced than the Travelstar 80GN; it is the standard by which all mobile hard drives will be measured," said Bill Healy, vice president, mobile product line, IBM Storage Technology Division. "Demands for increased performance and greater capacity continue to grow, and with the unveiling of our plans for the 7200 RPM Travelstar, we are providing a clear vision for delivering on those requirements for our customers."

Also new to the Travelstar 80GN is a stiffer drive top cover with circular grooves to protect the drive. The raised circular grooves give the top cover more stiffness, which protects the drive when external pressure is applied during handling.

The new Travelstar family, which includes performance speeds at 4200, 5400 and 7200 RPM, underscores IBM's market and technical leadership in mobile hard disk drives. The new Travelstar family represents the twenty-sixth generation of IBM mobile hard drives.

Serious performance, unplugged
While IBM Travelstar mobile drives have long been known for high performance, power users needing 7200 RPM performance have had to remain plugged in to their workstations. Until now, technical obstacles have prevented 7200 RPM performance in a mobile hard drive. In the new Travelstar, IBM has been able to overcome the technical challenges associated with faster spinning drives, which include higher acoustics, increased power consumption, and performance degradation due to external shock or vibration. The top-performance 7200 RPM Travelstar will define a new mobile HDD category aimed at satisfying the needs of the most demanding users.

IBM will also advance its 5400 RPM mobile product line to higher capacity and improved performance by introducing the Travelstar 80GNX. The 80GNX is designed to strike a balance between high performance and cost-efficiency. The drive will be offered in 20, 40 and 80 GB capacities.

Both the Travelstar 5400 and 7200 RPM mobile drives are expected to be available in the first quarter of 2003. The drives will also be available in enhanced availability models.

Technical Specifications
Travelstar 80GN
20/40/80 GB
9.5 mm in height
4,200 rpm
70 billion bits per square inch maximum areal density
1/1/2 glass disk platter(s)
1/2/4 GMR recording head(s)
800 G/1ms non-operating shock,
200 G/2ms operating shock
7.1 ms average latency
12 ms average seek time
ATA-6 100 MB/sec maximum interface transfer rate
Ultra DMA (mode-5)
95/95/99 weight in grams
2.0/2.0/2.3 Bels typical idle acoustics
2.4/2.4/2.7 Bels typical operating acoustics

Contact(s) information

Kim Nguyen
IBM Media Relations
(408) 256-7589
ktnguyen@us.ibm.com

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