IBM ships 146GB drive

Hoping not to repeat the blunders of its recent past, IBM Corp. today announced it has already shipped 5,000 units of its new Ultrastar 146Z10 hard drive. The new drive was introduced today, and IBM said the product is in evaluations with the same OEMs that did not take too kindly to the company's last drive -- 73LZX -- which became available much later than competing products from Seagate Technology LLC, Maxtor Corp., and Fujitsu Ltd.

The new drive, Ultrastar 146Z10, is the company's third generation of 10,000 rpm disk and is equipped with a new technology that IBM claims dampens the vibration caused my a multitude of disks operating simultaneously.

"Having multiple disks in a rack running simultaneously affects the reading and writing of the drive," said Bill Healy, IBM vice president of marketing. "Our technology improves reliability and quality."

Healy explains the vibration dampening is done in software algorithms and microcode, and it is a feature IBM believes is unique to the Ultrastar 146Z10.

"Other vendors have toyed with the idea [of vibration dampening techniques], but not commercialized," explained Healy. "[They've done] only lab demonstrations."

In addition to its focus on reliability and quality, IBM has also doubled the capacity of the disk from its last-generation drive, which had a maximum capacity of 72GB. The new drive has a capacity of 146GB and will compete with drives of the same capacity announced already by IBM's competitors. However, this time around, IBM believes they are the first to have shipped in high volume.

"We completed testing prior to announcing the product and wanted to wait until we were shipping," said Healy. "It is a marketing strategy."

This year is IBM's 50th anniversary of shipping hard drives for this series of product, explained Healy. Like those drives before it, the Ultrastar 146Z10 has been developed to work in data centers, but may also find its way in Web server-like products from companies such as Dell Computer.

The company says the disk is in evaluation with its partners and expects to see third-party products shipping with the Ultrastar 146Z10 in September or October.

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Scott Tyler Shafer

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