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5th generation 14x MO Technology Squeezes 9.1 GByte On 5.25-inch Disk

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Sony unveils latest generation of 14x 5.25-inch magneto optical disk drives and media

Sony Computer Peripherals & Components has unveiled the latest generation of 14x 5.25-inch magneto optical disk drives and media. Designed to meet the ever expanding storage needs of powerful multimedia systems and networks, the new SMO-F561 internal and forthcoming RMO-S561 external MO drives offer a colossal 9.1 GByte of digital data capacity while also ensuring backward compatibility and lightning fast access and transfer speeds.

The latest 14x MO products take advantage of two advanced data storage technologies to increase capacity. With "magnetically induced super resolution" (MSR), heat distribution and magne-tism within the laser beam enable MO drives to read data that is smaller than the beam spot size, enhancing storage density.

"Land-and-groove recording" uses a new "dual spiral" zone layout to allow data recording on both the surface of the layer (the land) and the spiral track (the groove), again increasing media density. It is the combination of these technologies that allows fifth-generation MO to store up to 9.1 GByte of data on just one 5.25-inch disk.

The new MO drives are also extremely quick, with a data transfer rate of 6 MByte/s and an average seek time of 25 ms, i.e. near hard drive performance. The SMO-F561 features an advanced RISC CPU and 8 MByte of read/write cache memory alongside Sony's exclusive S-cache technology, incorporating advanced buffering and caching algorithms. With a rotational speed of 3000 rpm (for 9.1 GByte media) and a SCSI-2 interface, the new drive performs well enough to handle MPEG-2 video playback.

As well as increasing disk capacity and speed, the 14x MO format inherits the renowned long-term reliability of earlier MO generations: over 30 years of use and at least one million overwrites can be expected without loss in quality. The new drives and media are also backward compatible, able to read back to first-generation media and write back to 4x disks. This makes the new format ideal for users who already own MO storage libraries or need to archive documents and records over long periods of time.

Sony Computer Peripherals & Components Europe (CPCE), with headquarters in Weybridge, UK, markets optical and magnetic storage drives and autoloaders, printers and Trinitron graphics displays both to OEMs and through distributors, dealers, value-added resellers and systems integrators. Sony is the originator or codeveloper of a range of digital storage standards, including the 3.5-inch floppy disc, the audio CD and subsequent CD standards (CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW etc.), DVD, DDS (digital data storage) tape, and AIT (advanced intelligent tape). A notebook USB camera, a video microscope and IT security systems based on biometrics are examples of new additions to the range of visual solutions from Sony CPCE.

First introduced in 1988, the removable rewritable MO format has evolved to become synonymous with fast, reliable, highly efficient storage of large amounts of data. Sony pioneered MO technology by developing the world's first 5.25-inch drive and media, capable of handling 650 MByte of information, a vast amount at the time. Successive generations of 5.25-inch MO continually doubled capacity throughout the 1990s, and the latest fifth generation has the ability to handle fourteen times more data than the original version. MO systems are used extensively to store data and documents on LAN and web servers, as well as with workstations and PCs. In 1999, no less than 120,000 5.25-inch MO drives were shipped across the world. With the launch of fifth-generation 5.25-inch MO, Sony once again redefines data backup and provides businesses with a powerful and efficient storage solution for the new digital age.

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