Western Digital Announces Its First 4-Platter EIDE Hard Drive

IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 14, 1998--Western Digital Corp. (NYSE:WDC - news) Monday announced a new 4-platter WD Caviar 20.4 GB Ultra ATA/66 hard drive which utilizes giant magneto-resistive (GMR) head technology as well as the new high-speed Ultra ATA/66 interface. The new 5.1 GB per platter WD Caviar hard drive also incorporates Western Digital's Data Lifeguard feature, which protects end-user data by automatically detecting, isolating and repairing possible problem areas on the hard drive before data loss can occur. Coupled with the Data Lifeguard protection system, the new Ultra ATA/66 interface provides end users with the maximum data reliability in today's hard drives.

The new WD Caviar 5.1 GB per platter platform, along with the WD Expert product line also announced Monday, is the first introduction of products derived from the Western Digital and IBM agreement that was finalized just 6 months ago. Access to IBM's experience and knowledge, simultaneous with IBM's deployment of technology and components, provides the opportunity for Western Digital with time-to-market areal density leadership in mainstream desktop PCs. ``WD's desktop business has made a transition from 3.4 GB per platter to 4.3 GB per platter to 5.1 GB per platter all in a matter of months, resulting in sustained time-to-market improvements, and now a time-to-market leadership product,'' said Matt Massengill, senior vice president and general manager of Western Digital's Personal Storage Division.

``Our virtual vertical integration business model and new product introduction processes allowed us to quickly integrate IBM's knowledge while leveraging our high-yielding manufacturing processes to bring this product line to market ahead of plan.'' Western Digital was the first hard drive manufacturer to bring Ultra ATA/66 hard drives to market, and the new WD Caviar and WD Expert product lines are the second generation of hard drives from Western Digital incorporating the new high-speed interface.

Evaluation units of the WD Caviar 20.4 GB hard drive are available in the December timeframe, with volume shipments commencing in January 1999. The platform will also be available in 15.3 GB and 10.2 GB capacities. The estimated retail street price of the WD Caviar 20.4 GB hard drive is $449.95. ``With the growth of the Internet as well as multimedia usage, interconnectivity has become the driving force behind capacity consumption,'' said John Burger, vice president of marketing for Western Digital. ``Communications are much more global, with information available any time from virtually any location.''

The WD Caviar 20.4 GB hard drive has an average read seek time of only 8.5 ms, which combines with a 5400 RPM rotational spindle speed for today's value line PCs. The 20.4 GB capacity is particularly geared toward those consumers requiring additional capacity for capacity-intensive applications such as the Internet and multimedia. Data Lifeguard is a Western Digital feature enhancement to S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology). Unlike the S.M.A.R.T. technology, the WD feature is always enabled and works independent of S.M.A.R.T. While S.M.A.R.T. predicts possible system down time by warning a user of potential hard drive failure if it has been enabled in the system, Data Lifeguard takes the technology another step further by isolating and repairing the problem before data loss can occur.


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