Singapore Company Launches 5mm Hybrid Disk Drive

A*Star Introduces 5mm Hybrid Hard Disk Drive

by Anton Shilov
11/05/2012 | 12:01 AM

The Singaporean agency for science, technology and research (A*STAR) and its subsidiary data storage institute (DSI) have launched a hybrid disk drive with 1TB of storage space and NAND flash cache. The drive is just 5mm thin.


The “A-Drive” 2.5” provides capacities of up to 1TB and also features 32GB NAND flash cache. DSI did not reveal the technology behind its hybrid drive, which is an important characteristic for performance. For example, Seagate’s technology caches only frequently used LBA sectors of the drive, whereas Western Digital’s technology puts important programs or files onto NAND flash cache, boosting performance of hard disk drives to the level solid-state drives. In addition, the “A-Drive” vows to reduce power consumption by up to 50%.

“Today, our year-long vision of creating a 5mm thin hybrid hard drive in 2.5’’ form factor with increased storage capacity and reduced power consumption at a lower cost for manufacturers has become a reality. We have managed to fit an amazing amount of innovation and advanced technology into a thinner, cheaper, and faster design, and we think the consumer and enterprise impact will be significant,” said Dr. Pantelis Alexopoulos, executive director of DSI.

One of the main challenges in reducing the thickness of current 7mm hard disk drives by almost 30% without compromising on its performance and stability is its spindle motor design. To achieve a reduction in size, DSI researchers developed a proprietary axial field motor which runs smoother, quieter, more efficiently, lowering power consumption by up to 70% yet at a fraction of the cost of SSDs. The motor’s design has been patented, along with 30 other unique designs for the “A-Drive”. In addition, DSI has collaborated with multinational corporations and local companies, such as Seiko Instruments, Miyoshi, and Unisteel, to develop key components for the “A-Drive”.

“Our capabilities today have been the result of two decades of collaboration with industry partners around the world. This has enabled DSI to develop groundbreaking solutions like the ‘A-Drive’. We look forward to future partnerships as we continue our drive towards new innovations that will shape the data storage landscape,” said Dr. Alexopoulos.