Agere's single-chip solution enables increased data throughput by up to 50 percent for PCs, mobile devices and consumer electronics
ALLENTOWN, Pa. - November 13, 2002 -- Agere Systems (NYSE: AGR.A, AGR.B) today announced the worldÆs first Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA) system-on-a-chip for hard disk drives. Agere's Serial ATA solution is the only single-chip device that fully supports 150 megabytes-per-second (Mbytes/sec) throughput and offers improved cost, connectivity, reliability and efficiency for disk drive manufacturers and end users.
Serial ATA technology boosts data throughput by up to 50 percent in storage devices currently found in PCs, laptops and consumer electronics, and paves the way for driving down hard disk drive costs in high-end corporate storage applications by up to 75 percent. Agere's single-chip solution offers clear advantages over so-called Serial ATA "bridge" technologies, which require a minimum of two chips and in most cases cannot run at the specification's full speed.
With IT managers focused on reducing costs and improving productivity, Serial ATA drives present a viable alternative for data-intensive enterprise storage solutions such as web servers, network storage and high-end workstations. Serial ATA drives are about one-fourth the cost of SCSI-attached disk drives, the technology currently used in corporate data storage applications.
"Agere's new product is a significant enhancement to integrated system-on-a-chip technology. It enables increased data throughput at a lower cost and helps to change the landscape in other storage segments as well," said David Reinsel, research manager, hard drives and components, at industry analyst firm IDC. "The speed and cost benefits inherent in serial ATA make it a potentially disruptive technology helping to move lower cost solutions into the high-end storage market. We expect that roughly forty percent of the drives consumed in enterprise storage solutions will leverage serial ATA drives by the year 2006."
Agere's single-chip Serial ATA storage interface delivers the increased throughput required by a wide range of storage applications including desktop and notebook PCs, personal video recorders, set-top boxes, game consoles and home video editing. Serial ATA is the new storage interface standard that replaces parallel ATA interfaces currently used in hard disk drives to connect a computer's system bus to disk storage devices. Disk drives that support Serial ATA increase data throughput to 150 Mbytes/sec, a significant improvement over the 100 Mbytes/sec speed that is typical using parallel ATA.
"For the first time, hard disk drive makers can now transition to Serial ATA technology simply and cost-effectively using a single chip," explained Joe O'Hare, vice president of Agere's Storage division. "Our extensive expertise in read-channel and system-on-a-chip design allows us to leap beyond interim bridge solutions to deliver a standards-compliant all-in-one device that truly delivers on the throughput promise of Serial ATA technology."
Agere was ranked No. 1 in read-channels for hard disk drives by IDC for 2001. According to IDC's market share survey, Agere's read channel leadership makes it the best strategically positioned supplier as more CMOS functionality is integrated onto single-chip SoCs. To date, Agere has also shipped nearly 40 million storage system-on-a-chip solutions.
Agere's Serial ATA solution offers the benefits of high integration and reduced power. The system-on-a-chip combines a Serial ATA interface along with Agere's high-performance MS55X read-channel, microprocessor, memory and hard disk controller into a single piece of silicon. Conversely, Serial ATA bridge solutions require a minimum of two chips and consume more power than Agere's stand-alone device.
In addition, typical Serial ATA bridge solutions employ a standard parallel ATA interface between the Serial ATA interface bridge chip and the hard disk drive SoC, which limits the actual data throughput on the Serial ATA cable to 100 Mbytes/sec. These solutions offer no performance improvement and are more costly and complex to manufacture than Agere's Serial ATA SoC.
True Serial ATA, such as Agere's solution, offers PC and storage hard disk drive manufacturers simplicity of design, with cables that are easy to route and install, smaller cable connectors with improved silicon design and lower pin counts, compatibility with today's software and lower voltage requirements than parallel ATA. Future versions of Serial ATA interfaces are slated to increase data transfer rates to 300 and 600 Mbytes/sec.
Agere will provide engineering samples of its Serial ATA SoC to customers in the first calendar quarter 2003, and expects to begin volume production of the chip in the second half of 2003.
Agere Systems is a premier provider of advanced integrated circuit (IC) solutions that access, move and store network information. Agere's IC solutions form the building blocks for a broad range of communications and computing applications. The company is the leader in providing storage solutions for hard disk drives with its read-channel chips, preamplifiers and system-on-a-chip solutions, and the No. 2 provider of Wi-Fi solutions for wireless LAN applications. For network equipment providers, Agere is a leading supplier of ICs for wired communications, network switching and access, and ATM and SONET/SDH solutions. In addition, Agere is the No. 2 supplier of application-specific ICs (ASICs) for communications applications. More information about Agere Systems is available from its Web site at www.agere.com.
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