Western Digital spins new hard drives for AV market
Western Digital has unveiled a new family of internal hard drives for audio and video implementations, one of the fastest growing sectors of the hard drive market. The 3.5in drives incorporate technologies designed to provide increased reliability, cooler and quieter operation and low power consumption required.
Designed primarily for set-top boxes, DVD recorders and mainstream surveillance system, the drives are capable of handling up to 12 simultaneous high-definition streams or 16 at standard definition.
The drives are designed to be capable of streaming audio and video content 24 hours-a-day. They are rated for reliability at one million hours MTBF (mean time between failures), providing greater reliability than standard desktop drives. They include WD’s ramp load feature, which parks the recording heads off the disk surface during spin up, spin down and when the drive is not operating. This improves non-operational shock tolerance and helps ensures that the recording head doesn’t touch the disk surface, reducing head and surface wear and improving long-term reliability.
Further reliability is provided by pre-emptive wear levelling (PWL) technology that frequently sweeps the drive arm across the disk to reduce uneven wear on the drive surface, which WD says is common in AV streaming applications.
WD proprietary IntelliSeek technology calculates an optimum seek speed to eliminate hasty movement of the actuator (the mechanism that controls the drive arm). Movement is controlled so the head reaches the next target sector just in time to read the next piece of information, rather than rapidly accelerating and waiting for the drive rotation to catch up. WD says this reduces power usage by more than 60 per cent compared with standard drives, as well as cutting down on noise and vibration.
Further noise damping is ensured by the use of stainless steel top covers and base castings that cut the amount of emitted sound to less than one sone.
WD AV drives are available with EIDE and SATA interfaces in capacities ranging from 80GB to 500GB.