iVDR: consumer disposable hard drives
Fri, 10 Jan 2003 02:12:14 -0800
Anyone else going to CES -- I'd love to, but it looks like it will take
until Sunday to get there... RK
Removable hard-disk system to be unveiled at CES
By Kuriko Miyake, IDG News Service
DECEMBER 27, 2002
A consortium of companies developing a removable hard-disk system for
consumer use called the Information Versatile Disk for Removable usage
(iVDR) plans to unveil a prototype 1.8-in. drive with a serial ATA
interface for the first time at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES)
next month, an iVDR consortium representative said this week.
The iVDR system will be shown outside of Japan for the first time at
the event, which will take place in Las Vegas in January.
At CES, three prototypes are expected to be showcased, including a
2.5-in. iVDR disk with a parallel ATA interface, and 2.5- and 1.8-in.
iVDR drives with faster and less costly serial ATA interfaces, said
Toshiaki Hioki, a consortium representative at Sanyo Electric Co. The
drives will be shown at the booth of Hitachi Global Storage
Technologies, the new hard disk drive company established by Hitachi
Ltd. after it acquired IBM's hard-disk unit in June (see story).
Alongside the prototype disks, several devices supporting iVDR from
other consortium members will be exhibited, including a PC, a drive and
The iVDR removable hard disk was proposed by eight electronics
companies -- Canon Inc., Fujitsu Ltd., Hitachi, Phoenix Technologies
Ltd., Pioneer Corp., Sanyo, Sharp Corp. and Victor Company of Japan
Ltd. -- which formed the consortium in March. The group now has 28
members, including hard disk drive makers Maxtor Corp. and Seagate
Technology LLC, Hioki said.
By standardizing, promoting and licensing the new swappable, removable
hard-disk system, the consortium members hope to solve two problems,
One problem is that as maximum hard disk drive capacity doubles each
year, consumers must keep buying new products to keep up with the
latest drive technology.
The other is that as hard-disk vendors keep adding more data capacity
to their products, the prices of the top-of-the-line hard disk drives
aren't dropping considerably. Therefore, products that include the
latest drives aren't becoming much cheaper.
Since the establishment of the consortium, the members first developed
the 2.5-in. iVDR drive and released basic specifications for hardware,
a parallel ATA interface and file formats for the development of
computer peripherals, Hioki said.
The consortium is now working on the establishment of specifications
for the newer serial ATA interface for the 2.5-in. iVDR disk and also
for the 1.8-in. iVDR disk. This smaller hard disk is expected to be
adopted in applications such as car navigation systems and audio
The serial ATA interface specifications for both sizes are expected to
be released after they are approved by the consortium members at a
general meeting in March.
Serial ATA offers some benefits over parallel ATA. It offers a data
transmission speed of 150M bit/sec. and above, compared with up to 100M
bit/sec. for the parallel system. For equipment designers, it is also
easier to work with because cables are simpler and voltage requirements
The 1.8-in. iVDR will be slightly thinner than a 2.5-in. iVDR disk,
which measures 130mm wide by 80mm deep by 12.7mm high. That would allow
the 1.8-in. disk to be fitted into a 2.5-in. slot with an adapter,
Currently, an iVDR disk can hold up to 80GB of data, a capacity
expected to be doubled by the first quarter, and typically costs
anywhere from $166 to $249, Hioki said. "This price may be acceptable
for a computer peripheral, but not for consumer electronics," he said.
For consumer electronics, such as a video recorder, the consortium aims
to reduce the disk price to be less than $83, Hioki said.
"I hope we can attract many computer peripheral makers at CES, so that
the iVDR system will start spreading and be used in personal computers
first. This will reduce the price of the hard disk and eventually will
allow consumer electronics to be equipped with an iVDR slot," Hioki
One more hurdle to clear for iVDR in the use of consumer electronics is
that of a copyright protection format. The consortium plans to approach
the movie industry soon and hopes to complete the standardization of
its copy protection code by March, Hioki said.
"iVDR " stands for Information Versatile Disk for Removable usage, a
lightweight, compact, removable hard disk drive compatible with a wide
range of applications from AV to PC devices. iVDR has the large
capacity and fast random access typical of Hard Disk drives. Using
multiple iVDR will allow easy construction of servers with TB (Tera
Bytes) capacity. Through the use of the iVDR will for the first time be
able to achieve a next generation large capacity data platform
compatible with a wide range of devices such as AV and PC devices.
iVDR is not limited to only Hardware, file system and interface
specifications but also standardizes industry specifications for
application data formats and security achieving a next generation large
capacity data platform for common use in AV devices and PC's.
* Technical Specification
physical specifications of 2.5-inch removable hard disk drive,
Connector specifications for iVDR.
ATA command, Expansion AV command, Expansion security command (option)
File System Specification
File system for iVDR.
Looking ahead to the future, the consortium plans on developing
application data format and content security specifications for the
realization of mutually compatible data for a variety of applications.
* Hardware Specification (2.5-inch disk)
Size (W x D x H) 130mm x 80mm x 12.7mm
Shockproof More than 900G (when not running)
Connector Specifications Connector for iVDR 50 pin
Connector durability connect/disconnect 10,000 times
Command ATA Standard + AV Expansion + Secure Expansion (option)
A 1.8-inch iVDR disk will also be studied.