Agilent Technologies Expands Maximum Data Rate of Hard Drives

2/11/2003 - Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) introduced an option for its E5023A hard disk read/write test system, which expands the maximum data rate of the E5023A's write signal to 2.6 Gb/s, about 1.7 times higher than its former data rate. This will allow disk drive manufacturers to test drive heads developed for next-generation products.

Agilent used a high-speed, silicon germanium (SiGe) 32-bit parallel-to-serial data converter to achieve the higher performance of Option 426. In addition, the 2.6 Gb/s upgrade employs an entirely new de-skewing algorithm and circuit to effectively cancel the time differences (clock skew) between clock and data signals that occur because the two signals are transferred on long, independent cables. The algorithm and circuit (patent pending) automatically corrects for these time differences.

Agilent is introducing the 2.6 Gb/s capability now because of the rapidly advancing nature of the disk drive industry. In fact, the aerial density of disk drives increases more than 60 percent per year. The ability to achieve such consistent improvements depends on the ability to write and read more bits per lineal inch and to make tracks narrower and closer together. This rapid development means that drive manufacturers typically need test equipment capable of delivering data rates and track pitch specifications today for products that will begin production one and a half to two years later.

"Agilent designed its hard disk read/write test system to accommodate the changing needs of this fast-paced industry," said Nobu Kasai, Agilent marketing manager, Kobe, Japan. "Our system, which is based on VXI modules, has the unique ability to rapidly incorporate technical advances at the least possible cost and with the least interruption to the customer's production line. Option 426 is the latest example of how this is accomplished."

The E5023A's VXI modular architecture enables users to enhance its performance with the 2.6 Gb/s option without the large cost increases that would result if, as with competitive test products, the entire system had to be replaced or removed from service and upgraded. Users simply substitute an existing VXI module, dramatically reducing system downtime when compared to upgrading other systems, resulting in faster, less expensive upgrades.

The E5023A Option 426 comes with a new data generator module (E5037D) and head amplifier control unit (E5043C).

Additional information about Agilent's E5023A hard disk read/write test system is available at

U.S. Pricing and Availability
Pricing for the Agilent E5023A with Option 426 starts at $133,646; pricing for the 2.6 Gbps Upgrade kits for the Agilent E5022A/B starts at $71,623; all are available to order now.

About Agilent Technologies
Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) is a global technology leader in communications, electronics and life sciences. The company's 35,000 employees serve customers in more than 110 countries. Agilent had net revenue of $6 billion in fiscal year 2002. Information about Agilent is available on the Web at

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