September 29, 2002 9:00 PM PDT

IBM plays "tag 'n seek" to speed desktops

IBM is expected to announce on Monday that technology that shortens the time it takes to find information is being extended to its desktop hard drives.

The technology, referred to as "tag 'n seek," is used in IBM's Deskstar 180GXP family of hard drives and improves seek time performance by up to 20 percent over previous Deskstar drives, according to IBM. The company has borrowed the "tag 'n seek" technology from its SCSI drives and adapted it for its ATA drives.

The technology essentially prioritizes information sent from a computer's processor to the hard drive and processes it so that seek time is minimized. The technology is currently used in IBM mobile and server hard drives. The drives will begin shipping in high quantities to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) customers on Monday.

Storage densities of platters, which are in hard drives and are the primary component for holding data, have increased 100 percent per year, while seek time improvement has only improved by 10 percent a year, according to IBM. The addition of this technology is meant to better even those statistics.

"This market is still about capacity, but as that continues to grow you want to be able to get information to users as fast as possible," said Robert Holleran, an IBM spokesman.

The new 180GXP drives will come in 30, 40, 60, 80, 120 and 180GB capacities with rotational speeds of 7,200rpm. The 120GB model is available with an optional 8MB cache, which is standard in the 180GB drive.

The 30GB and 40GB will be available only to OEM customers, and the 60, 80, 120 and 180GB drives will range in price between $144 and $360.

IBM is targeting its drives at its PC customers and manufacturers of gaming and digital video and audio devices. Products using the drives should begin hitting the market late this year and early next year.


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