Preamplifier Renders Lightning Speed

Geneva — This third-generation mobile preamplifier from STMicroelectronics Inc. offers speed, low power consumption and vertical recording support for mobile disk-drive applications.

The device is also fast enough for the next generation of 2.5-inch server drives, according to the company. This new ST product (part number L6316) enables hard-disk drives (HDDs) with higher data rates while offering a reduced demand on their power supplies, resulting in longer operation while running on batteries.

Designed to use ST's advanced silicon-germanium 5-metal-layer process, the L6316 IC offers uncompromised performance while requiring very low power and achieving read/write speeds in excess of 1.2-Gbit/s under laptop power constraints. The IC achieves this performance by using a new write-driver architecture, which ST has termed 'Continuously Matched' technology, assuring a true differential, fully matched impedance driver operating at all times during the write operation. The new driver architecture also achieves the highest write voltages available, which ensures better data integrity (bit error rate).

Analysts can't confirm if the L6316 is the industry's fastest preamplifier, as STMicroelectronics claims. Agere Systems, Allentown, Pa., makes products with comparable speeds. STMicro's preamplifier could possibly be the fastest low-power preamplifier on the market though.

Summary of Features:

  • Support for both giant magneto resistive (GMR) and tunneling junction
    magneto resistive heads (TMR), effectively covering the whole range of heads
    available on the market;
  • Support for vertical recording technology;
  • Both read and write operations in addition to fly height control, making
    this preamplifier ready for vertical recording at unprecedented densities;
  • Extensive self-test capability included to provide next generation quality
    in defect-free manufacturing;
  • Special attention given to reduced power consumption and a host of
    advanced features to serve several generations of drives.

    Regarding flexibility and programmability, the new preamplifier allows development engineers to set write current, overshoot amplitude, and duration independently of each other for optimization of write performance without compromise. Similarly, the IC's continuously adjustable input impedance allows a perfect match to the impedance of the head interconnect
    during the read operation. The combination of these two features adds up to a best-in-class level of data integrity.

    “We have developed a part that is high performing and can bridge multiple segment needs of the disk drive industry,” said Gian Luca Bertino, general manager of the Data Storage Division, STMicroelectronics. “This product can be used in mobile drives, which is the highest growth segment, and 7200 revolutions per minute (rpm) 2.5-inch desktop and server drives. It covers a very large domain of applications, enabling a significant economy of scale resulting in a cost-effective solution for the hard disk drive market.”

    Initial drive results confirm the level of performance promised by this new architecture. Samples of the L6316 are available now with full production expected to begin in Q4 2004. Pricing is $1.75 in quantities of 1,000; however, the device is customized before going into high volume
    production with any client.

    Click here for the datasheet:

    For company information, visit:

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