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The DSI celebrates 20th Anniversary with Introduction of 5 mm Hybrid Drive

by Hu Yoshida on Nov 2, 2012

As a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Data Storage Institute (DSI) of Singapore,   I was very privileged to be invited to their gala event that was held to celebrate  20years of R&D in storage and data systems technologies. Dr. Pantelis Alexopoulos, the executive director of DSI, opened the event by reviewing the history of DSI, its many contributions to the storage industry and to Singapore’s economy, and also recognizing some of the key contributors to DSI’s success.

Mr. S. Iswaran, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and second minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry, provided the highlight of the event with the unveiling of a 5 mm hybrid drive in a 2.5 inch form factor.

This is one of the thinnest drives in the industry and is intended to spur the disk drive industry to expand their markets in consumer applications like tablets and other mobile devices, where the cost of flash may be too expensive.

What is remarkable about this drive is the sum of all the technologies that had to be developed by the research staff at DSI. The first was the development of a spindle motor that is thin enough to fit inside a 5 mm high disk drive. This spindle motor could also be applied to other applications like medical devices, for example. Second is the combination of flash within a disk drive to increase performance and lower power consumption, which is important for mobile devices. It is also sealed in a ceramic enclosure that is filled with helium to further reduce heat and power.

The result is the “A Drive,” which can provide capacities up to 1 TB on disk with 32 GB of flash memory in a 5 mm 2.5 inch form factor that can fit in tablets, ultra books, and other mobile devices. While prices are not available, it is expected to be much lower than comparable flash implementations that have been threatening to displace hard disks in the consumer market.

Congratulations to DSI on 20 years of innovation and on the introduction of a new generation of storage systems that can revitalize the hard disk business for the consumer market.

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Comments (2 )

Howard Ichiro Lim on 02 Nov 2012 at 10:23 pm

Thats certainly impressive. This type of innovation is what keeps technologists inspired and encouraged to create even better products for the market place.

Thank you for sharing this.

Hu Yoshida on 19 Nov 2012 at 10:39 am


Thanks for the comment. Yes, it has become even more impressive with the estimated price that has been published in some reports. This 5 mm drive with 32 GB Flash and 1 TB hard disk is expected to be priced at $60 USD by 2013 and reduce power consumption by 60% compared to comparable HDD capacities.


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