reprinted from a Western Digital press release:
LAKE FOREST, Calif. – April 9, 2007 -Western Digital Corp. (NYSE: WDC) today announced a new family of hard drives for audio and video recording products, one of today's fastest growing digital storage markets. Drawing on its expertise as a leading supplier to major consumer electronics and surveillance manufacturers worldwide, WD has designed its new 3.5-inch WD AV hard drives with technologies that provide the increased reliability, cooler and quieter operation and low power consumption required for these demanding environments. The WD AV drives in capacities ranging from 80 GB to 500 GB are available through the company's distribution network. "WD has been a high-volume supplier of best-in-class drives to our video recording OEM customers since the digital video recording market was in its infancy," said Jim Welsh, vice president and general manager, Branded Products and Consumer Business units. "As the market for drives designed specifically for these applications has expanded, so has the number of end-product manufacturers worldwide. The best way to serve this diverse and growing customer base is to offer our new WD AV drive directly and through our distribution network." WD AV Hard Drives The high capacities, high reliability and cost effectiveness of hard drive technology have enabled a range of audio and video recording applications, including digital set-top boxes, personal video recorders, IP gateways and mainstream surveillance systems. These applications, which often demand 24×7 operation from hard drives, have different requirements than personal computers, such as higher reliability, universal compatibility, low power consumption and the ability to simultaneously record multiple audio and/or video streams. Consumer applications such as set-top boxes and DVD recorders place additional demands on hard drives to consume less power, generate less heat and operate quietly. Reliability That Can Be Counted On With advanced features, WD AV hard drives are built specifically to operate in 24×7 environments, where the drive is always on, streaming audio and video content. WD AV drives are rated for reliability at one million hours MTBF, which is higher than standard desktop drives. WD AV drives incorporate WD's ramp load feature, which parks the recording heads off the disk surface during spin up, spin down and when the drive is not operating. Contrary to drives without ramp load, the feature in WD AV drives improves non-operational shock tolerance and ensures that the recording head never touches the disk surface, reducing head and surface wear and enhancing long-term reliability. WD's preemptive wear leveling (PWL) frequently sweeps the drive arm across the disk to reduce uneven wear on the drive surface, which is common in audio-video-streaming applications. Smart Power Reduction WD's unique IntelliSeek technology proactively calculates an optimum seek speed to eliminate hasty movement of the actuator that produces noise and requires power, which is common in other drives. With IntelliSeek, the actuator's movement is controlled so the head reaches the next target sector just in time to read the next piece of information, rather than rapidly accelerating and waiting for the drive rotation to catch up. This smooth motion reduces power usage of WD AV hard drives by more than 60 percent compared with standard drives, as well as quiets seek operation and lowers vibration. Additionally, the ramp load feature reduces power consumption during spin up and the drive's electronics have been optimized to save power for audio and video applications. Quiet as a Mouse In addition to the sound-reducing properties of IntelliSeek and ramp load, WD utilizes multi-stage formed stainless steel top covers and precision-designed base castings that minimize sound levels for consumer sound-sensitive applications. The result is WD AV drives emit less than one sone, which is virtually below the threshold of human hearing. High Definition Multitasking Smooth audio-video recording and playback of today's high-definition content is essential for consumer PVR applications. The SilkStream technology in WD AV drives effortlessly delivers those qualities in as many as 12 simultaneous high-definition streams1 and is based on the industry-standard ATA specification for universal compatibility. Mainstream surveillance video recorders save images at a slower pace than high-definition video, and in that application WD AV hard drives record up to 16 standard-definition streams. Compatibility To ensure broad compatibility, WD AV drives have been tested in a wide range of audio and video products including set-top boxes, DVD recorders and mainstream surveillance systems. WD AV drives are currently available with EIDE and SATA interfaces in capacities ranging from 80 GB to 500 GB through WD's worldwide distribution network.