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Seagate to Shrink Drives

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Storage World Conference -- Seagate Technology Inc. (NYSE: STX) is developing 2.5-inch form-factor, 10,000-RPM drives that the company says will let enterprise users pack 70 percent more storage into the same amount of space required by today's larger, 3.5-inch drives.

The new unit, which Seagate generically (and prosaically) refers to as its Small Form Factor (SFF) drive, will be 2.5 inches long, 15 millimeters high, and 70 millimeters wide. Seagate expects to start shipping the SFF drives to OEMs in early 2004.

"We have not changed the form factor of enterprise drives for the past decade," says Gary Gentry, VP of strategic marketing and planning. "It's time for a change."

The SFF drive will support SCSI, Fibre Channel, and Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) interfaces, and it will hold either one or two platters. It will actually use the same 65mm platters that Seagate uses in its current 10K and 15K 3.5-inch Cheetah drives -- the new form factor simply shrinks the "can" around them. Gentry says Seagate hasn't decided what it's going to name the family of smaller drives. (May we suggest "Chee-to"?)

The SFF drives, according to Seagate, will allow storage systems vendors to offer the same performance in about 70 percent less rack space. Six SFF drives will be able to fit in a 1U form factor, Seagate says, meaning a 1U system can support RAID 5. The SFF drives will also consume about 40 percent less power and generate less heat than current 3.5-inch units.

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