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IBM fires up 36GB hard drive

Big Blue announces the huge hard drive and other high-speed, high-capacity drives, parts that are helping turn the standard PC into data repositories.

IBM announced a 36-gigabyte hard drive today and other high-speed, high-capacity drives, parts that are helping turn the standard PC into vast data repositories.

IBM says its giant, 36GB drive can hold about 30 standard-length movies. Typically, drives that ship in high-end PCs today range between 15 and 22GB.

Big Blue also announced super-fast drives with capacities up to 18GB. The Ultrastar 18LZX has a seek time--the time it takes to fetch data--of 4.9 milliseconds. IBM claims this is fastest of any drive today.

These drives are designed for use with applications that use high-quality audio and video, high-end graphics and animation, and enormous databases.

The hard disks are also "ideal for supporting large intranets and Internet applications, computer aided design, online banking, credit card transaction processing, digital documentation and document imaging, and data mining," the company said.

The drives have glass disk platters and use load/unload technology for higher reliability and performance. Load/unload parks the recording heads off of the disk platters when not in use. "In addition to wear reduction, parking the heads off the disks can reduce power usage substantially when in standby mode," IBM said.

Both also come with large amounts of "buffer" memory--up to 8 MB--to increase performance.

The Ultrastar 36ZX and 18LZX are in qualification now by several computer makers including Dell Computer and will ship in volume next month. The 36 GB drive lists for $1,950, while the 18GB drive lists for $1,325. A smaller 9GB drive is list priced at $775.

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