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November 9, 1995

FUJITSU CHASES AFTER SHARE OF DISK DRIVE MARKET, USING PROPRIETARY TECHNOLOGY TO ACHIEVE ITS GOAL

By CBR Staff Writer

Fujitsu Ltd aims to secure 20% of the worldwide storage market within 18 months, which would push it into the top three disk drive manufacturers, overtaking IBM Corp by the end of 1996. The key to this progress, it believes, is its proprietary magneto-resistive head technology, which enables it to double the capacity of drives with the same number of platters every six months. It results in areal density of up to 880Mb per square inch in three new drives it is set to launch early next year. The company is not restricting the magneto-resistive technology to high-end servers though, and is now using it across its range of hard disk drives for OEM customers. The magneto-resistive heads have two elements: a thin-film write element and a magneto-resistive read element. This, said the company, enables it to optimise the performance of each channel. Along with the magneto-resistive head technology, Partial Response, Maximun Likelihood read channel technology which samples the waveform and relies on the fact that intended signals are regular where noise is random to distinguish between the two digitises incoming signals for an improved signal-to-noise ratio, according to the company. Fujitsu has announced three new drives for release in the first quarter of 1996. There are two additions to the 3.5 M29XX server and workstation series. The M249X SCSI-2 has 8.8Gb capacity on 10 platters, 1.6 high, with an areal density of 750Mb per square inch. The M295X series will be available in 1 high 2.2Gb and 4.4Gb formats with three and five platters respectively. The M249X will be less than $2,000 and the M295X series will start at $850. The M271X 2.5 notebook series has been upgraded to 1.08Gb capacity on two platters, weighing just 4.9 oz. Six months ago the company announced its first 2.5 drive, which has 540Mb on three platters (CI No 2,654) and is shipping at the moment. No price has been set for the new notebook drive. All three drives are sampling now. Fujitsu has two factories in full production, one in Japan supplying the US and one in Thailand for the European market. A third factory in the Philippines is due to start production in January 1996. The company’s aim is to ship 1m drive units by the end of 1996 and 1.6m units by the end of the following year.

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