December 2, 1996 10:00 AM ET

New hard-disk specs from WD
By Scott Berinato

  Western Digital Corp. this week will become the third vendor to supplant 2.5-inch drives for portable PCs with a 3-inch form factor, in response to thinner, wider notebooks.

Meanwhile, sources close to the Irvine, Calif., drive vendor said it also has developed technology called SDX (Storage Data Acceleration) that is meant to bypass the EIDE (Enhanced IDE) connection of CD-ROM and DVD (digital videodisk)-ROM drives.

Instead, the SDX interface connects a storage peripheral directly to a hard drive through a 10-pin connector. This eliminates much of the cost of a dedicated 40-pin EIDE connector, and allows the CD, or DVD-ROM, drive to utilize the hard disk's caching capabilities, the sources said.

All Western Digital drives will support SDX starting in the second quarter of 1997, at which time Sanyo Information Systems will produce the first CD-ROM drive employing SDX, sources said.

This week's introduction of the Portfolio line of 3-inch EIDE drives will offer storage capacities ranging from 1G byte to 2.16G bytes, average seek times of 14 milliseconds and data transfer rates of 16.6M bytes per second, officials said.

Western Digital also will add a 4G-byte model to its 3.5-inch Caviar line.

Western Digital officials declined to comment.

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