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The Small Computer Systems Interface and very high capacities in even smaller form factors are the future for microcomputer storage according to Rodime Plc vice-president Tim Mahoney. Mahoney found a quiet corner at Comdex in Atlanta and gave the Microbytes Daily electronic newsletter the Rodime view of the Glenrothes, Scotland company’s particular world. Two-inch drives are probably the next major step, and that opens up some interesting possibilities, he said. For example, a two-inch hard drive could be about 0.7 high – small enough to fit in a shirt pocket, much like today’s 3.5 floppy disk media. And it’s probably possible to offer, say, 20Mb in a one-inch cube. In applications where real estate is crucial – laptops for instance – that’d really let you cram a lot in. So when will we see such a drive from Rodime? Sad to say, OEM non-disclosure agreements prevent the company from giving any hints. On the subject of the SCS Interface, Rodime is probably shipping more SCSI than anyone in the industry, Mahoney said. About a year ago, there was a lot of interest in ESDI, due to IBM, he said. But every one of our customers who looked at ESDI has come back to SCSI. We expect shipments of SCSI drives to dominate the industry within six to 12 months. And that is despite the alleged data transfer speed advantage of ESDI: ESDI’s good for maybe 15Mbits-per-second, Mahoney said. We’ve got SCSI up to about 10Mbps, and 15 is doable. But the big advantage is the ability to daisy-chain SCSI devices, and the intelligence of the controllers. SCSI has more on-board brains to deal with things like seek errors – the drive knows what to do, instead of having to rely on the controller board to fix things. Mahoney added that SCSI’s better fault tolerance is also attractive to manufacturers because it enables them to get their yields up.

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