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Preamplifier chip spun for low-power 2.5-inch hard disk drive market

Allentown, PA — Agere Systems announces a new low-power preamplifier integrated circuit (IC) specifically designed for use in mobile hard disk drives (HDDs). This storage chip delivers the industry's fastest operating speeds in a low-power design, equipping notebook PCs with increased storage capacity, extended battery life, and the performance needed to serve as desktop PC replacements.

Developed specifically for 2.5-inch mobile HDDs, Agere's new TrueStore PA7700 preamplifier IC offers exceptional performance, with read/write speeds topping 1.2 gigabits-per-second (Gbits/s) while consuming half the power of previous-generation Agere chips. This chip enables higher storage capacity in disk drives and more reliable storage for PC manufacturers. Agere is delivering engineering samples of this new chip to leading HDD developers.

Industry analyst firm Gartner Dataquest expects that the number of 2.5-inch disk drives shipped globally will reach more than 96 million by 2008, with a 14 percent compound annual growth rate from 2004 to 2008. Gartner has ranked Agere No. 1 in hard disk drive semiconductors for units shipped in 2003.

The new chip enhances Agere's TrueStore electronics portfolio, which offers preamplifier solutions targeted for each segment of the computing market. This low-power preamplifier joins Agere's previously announced TrueStore PA7500, which is tailored for the desktop PC and enterprise markets.

An HDD's preamplifier is closely tied to the performance of the drive's heads and media. As a drive “reads” analog data from the disk drive platter, the preamplifier amplifies these extremely small signals before they are sent to a read-channel IC for sophisticated processing and digitization. A preamplifier is also integral to the write process by driving current through the inductive write head, which records information on the platter. Agere's new PA7700 offers the fastest data throughput available in a low-power solution, which translates to improved bit error rate performance. With Agere's chip, HDD manufacturers can increase storage capacity in higher performance 7200 RPM drives to match that of today's desktop PCs, and help transition the mobile market to next-generation areal densities.

The PA7700 writer architecture was designed to support the low-power needs of the 2.5-inch 4200 RPM power sensitive market as well as the high-performance requirements of the 2.5-inch 7200 RPM market. This architecture automatically decreases the power proportional to frequency, so extra energy is not used at lower speeds. This is accomplished without degrading the write signal integrity of the lower speed signals, resulting in increased signal-to-noise ratio performance at those data rates.

In addition to low power dissipation, Agere's PA7700 offers innovative features for optimized HDD development. The chip's bit-programmable head support allows disk drive engineers to integrate the PA7700 with either giant magneto-resistive (GMR) or tunneling GMR (TGMR) head technology. The PA7700 is also Agere's first preamplifier to support perpendicular recording, a revolutionary technique for increasing storage capacity beyond the limits of today's longitudinal recording process. Leveraging Agere's expertise in perpendicular recording for read-channels, the PA7700 can provide desktop-class switching times in perpendicular recording systems, providing increased data storage efficiency without adding excess power. With Agere's solution, HDD designers have the flexibility of using a single preamplifier across multiple drive designs and achieve superior performance regardless of what head technology or recording technique is selected.

Agere expects to be in volume production with its low-power PA7700 preamplifier IC in early 2005. Production quantities of the desktop-level PA7500 are available now.

For more information, please visit Agere Systems or contact one of Agere's regional sales offices. Customers in the U.S. may also call the Agere Systems Customer Response Center at 1-800-372-2447. Customers in Canada may call 1-800-553-2448. Customers outside those countries may call 1-610-712-4323. Fax inquiries may be directed to 1-610-712-4106, or e-mail queries to docmaster@agere.com. Written inquiries should be sent to Agere Systems, Room 10A-301C, 1110 American Parkway NE, Lehigh Valley Central Campus, Allentown, PA, 18109, USA

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