NEC was showing off a new range of storage systems, previewed at the Comdex show in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago. The Semicon range of solid state subsystems come with a standard SCSI interface, and are built around boards crammed with 512K-bit semiconductor chips. The SD-020 S, SD-040 S and SD-120 S offer 20Mb, 40Mb and 120Mb of storage respectively. With no moving parts, access time for each of the devices is reckoned to be under 400 microseconds, with an asynchronous data transfer speed of 2.6M-bytes-per-second. Although very fast, and designed for graphics and imaging applications that demand fast an heavy data traffic flows, the devices are expensive – UKP3,750 and UKP7,000 respectively for the smaller two, no prices on the top-end and, unlike magnetic or optical storage systems, are vunerable to power loss. Consequently, a battery-powered back-up pack is available which, stacked on top of each, brings the things up to the 5.25 of a full-size Winchester disk. In the event of power failure, the power pack ensures a data life expectancy of 13 days for the 120Mb model, 27 days on the 20Mb version. The mean time between failure rate for the SD range is estimated at 200,000 hours. 1Mb DRAM chip upgrade boards will be available to double the memory capacity of the systems from early next year, and NEC reckons it has two large manufacturers lined up to integrate the things into its systems – they are known to have been under evaluation by ICL in the UK. NEC was showing off a new 5.25 Winchester drive – the D5892 – with 1.4Gb capacity and a 14mS seek time.
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