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Encyclopedia > Western Digital
Western Digital
Type Public
Founded April 23, 1970
Headquarters Lake Forest, California, United States
Key people Matt Massengill (Chairman)
Industry Computer
Products Hard disk
Revenue [1]
Employees 23,161
Website www.westerndigital.com

Western Digital Corporation (NYSE: WDC) (often abbreviated to WD) is a manufacturer of a large proportion of the world's hard disks, and has a long history in the electronics industry as an IC maker and a storage products company. Western Digital was founded on April 23, 1970 as General Digital, initially (and briefly) a manufacturer of MOS semiconductor test equipment. It rapidly became a specialty semiconductor maker, with startup capital provided by several individual investors and industrial giant Emerson Electric. In July, 1971, they adopted their current name, had moved to Newport Beach, California, and soon after introduced their first product, the WD1402A UART. Image File history File links Western_Digital_logo. ... A public company is a company owned by the public rather than by relatively few individuals. ... April 23 is the 113th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (114th in leap years). ... 1970 (MCMLXX) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link is to a full 1970 calendar). ... Location of Lake Forest within Orange County, California. ... Computer industry is a collective term used to describe the whole range of businesses involved in developing computer software, designing computer hardware, the manufacture of computer components and the provision of information technology services. ... Typical hard drives of the mid-1990s. ... Revenue is a U.S. business term for the amount of money that a company earns from its activities in a given period, mostly from sales of products and/or services to customers. ... Image File history File links Green_Arrow_Up_(Darker). ... Employment is a contract between two parties, one being the employer and the other being the employee. ... A website (or Web site) is a collection of web pages, typically common to a particular domain name or subdomain on the World Wide Web on the Internet. ... The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), nicknamed the Big Board, is a New York City-based stock exchange privately-owned by the NYSE Group (NYX). ... Typical hard drives of the mid-1990s. ... Integrated circuit showing memory blocks, logic and input/output pads around the periphery Microchips with a transparent window showing the integrated circuit inside. ... April 23 is the 113th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (114th in leap years). ... 1970 (MCMLXX) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link is to a full 1970 calendar). ... A semiconductor is a solid whose electrical conductivity can be controlled over a wide range, either permanently or dynamically. ... Emerson Electric Company is a global company based in the United States which ranked 144 on the Fortune 500. ... 1971 (MCMLXXI) was a common year starting on Friday. ... City Incorporation September 1, 1906 City Tree Coral Tree City flower Bougainvillea Mayor Steven Bromberg County Orange County Area   - Total   - Land   - Water 50. ... Official language(s) English Capital Sacramento Largest city Los Angeles Area  Ranked 3rd  - Total 158,302 sq mi (410,000 km²)  - Width 250 miles (400 km)  - Length 770 miles (1,240 km)  - % water 4. ... A UART or universal asynchronous receiver-transmitter is a piece of computer hardware that translates between parallel bits of data and serial bits. ...

Contents

History

1970s

Through the early years of the 1970s, WDC made their money by selling calculator chips; by 1975, they were the largest independent calculator chip maker in the world. The oil crisis of the mid-1970s and the bankruptcy of its biggest calculator customer, Bowmar Instrument, changed its fortunes, however. In 1976, Western Digital declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. After this, Emerson withdrew their support of the company, and WDC was on its own. A calculator is a device for performing calculations. ... Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code governs the process of reorganization under the bankruptcy laws of the United States. ...


WDC introduced several landmark products during this time, including the MCP-1600 multi-chip, microcoded CPU (used, among other things, to implement DEC's LSI-11 system and their own Pascal MicroEngine microcomputer which ran the UCSD p-System Version III and UCSD Pascal), and a string of single-chip floppy disk drive controller chips, notably the WD1771. The MCP-1600 was a multi-chip microprocessor made by Western Digital in the late 1970s through the early 1980s. ... A microprogram is a program consisting of microcode that controls the different parts of a computers central processing unit (CPU). ... Die of an Intel 80486DX2 microprocessor (actual size: 12×6. ... The DEC logo Digital Equipment Corporation was a pioneering American company in the computer industry. ... The PDP-11 was a 16-bit minicomputer sold by Digital Equipment Corp. ... The Pascal MicroEngine was a series of products manufactured by Western Digital from 1979 thru the mid 1980s, designed specifically to efficiently run the UCSD p-System. ... The UCSD p-System or UCSD Pascal System was a portable highly machine independent operating system developed in 1978 by the Institute for Information Systems of the University of California, San Diego to provide all students with a common operating system that could run on any of the then available... UCSD Pascal was a specific implementation of the programming language Pascal which used the p-Code machine architecture. ... A floppy disk is a data storage device that is composed of a disk of thin, flexible (floppy) magnetic storage medium encased in a square or rectangular plastic shell. ... The WD1770 is the first in a line of floppy disc controllers produced by Western Digital. ...


1980s

The WD1771 and its kin were WDC's first entry into the data storage industry; by the early 1980s, they were making hard disk controllers, and in 1983, they won the contract to provide IBM with controllers for the PC/AT. That controller, the WD1003, became the basis of the ATA interface (which WDC developed along with Compaq and Control Data's MPI division, now owned by Seagate) starting in 1986. The 1980s refers to the years of 1980 to 1989. ... Typical hard drives of the mid-1990s. ... International Business Machines Corporation (IBM, or colloquially, Big Blue) (NYSE: IBM) (incorporated June 15, 1911, in operation since 1888) is headquartered in Armonk, New York, USA. The company manufactures and sells computer hardware, software, and services. ... The IBM PC/AT was IBMs third-generation PC, designed around the Intel 80286 microprocessor and released in 1984. ... ATA cables: 40 wire ribbon cable top, 80 wire ribbon cable bottom Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA) is a standard interface for connecting storage devices such as hard disks and CD-ROM drives inside personal computers. ... Compaq Computer Corporation is an American personal computer company founded in 1982, and now a brand name of Hewlett-Packard. ... Control Data Corporation, or CDC, was one of the pioneering supercomputer firms. ... Seagate Technology (NYSE: STX) is a major American manufacturer of hard drives, founded in 1979 and based in Scotts Valley, California. ...


In the mid-to-late 1980s, WDC also dabbled in graphics cards (through their Paradise subsidiary, purchased 1986), core logic chipsets (by purchasing Faraday in 1987), and networking. They did well (especially Paradise, which produced one of the best VGA cards of the era), but storage-related chips and disk controllers were their biggest moneymakers. In 1986, they introduced the WD33C93 single-chip SCSI interface, which was used in the first 16-bit bus mastering SCSI controller, the WD7000 "FASST"; in 1987 they introduced the WD37C65, a single-chip implementation of the PC/AT's floppy disk controller circuitry, and the grandfather of modern super I/O chips; in 1988 they introduced the WD42C22 "Vanilla", the first single-chip ATA hard disk controller. A graphics/video/display card/board/adapter is a computer component designed to convert the logical representation of visual information into a signal that can be used as input for a display medium. ... Video Graphics Array (VGA) is a computer display standard first marketed in 1987 by IBM. VGA belongs to a family of earlier IBM video standards and largely remains backward compatible with them. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Bus mastering is a feature supported by some bus architectures that enables a controller connected to the bus to communicate directly with other devices on the bus without going through the CPU. Most modern bus architectures, including PCI, support bus mastering because it significantly improves performance. ... Super I/O is the name given to a class of I/O controller integrated circuits which began to be used on personal computer motherboards in the late 1980s. ...


1988 also brought what would be the biggest change in WDC's history. That year, WDC bought the hard drive production assets of PC hardware maker Tandon; the first products of that union under WDC's own name were the "Centaur" series of ATA and XT attachment drives.


1990s

By 1991, things were starting to slow down, as the PC industry moved from ST-506 and ESDI drives to ATA and SCSI, and thus were buying fewer hard disk controller boards. That year saw the rise of WDC's Caviar drives, brand new designs that used the latest in embedded servo and computerized diagnostic systems. The ST-506 was the first hard disk intended for use specifically on microcomputers, introduced in 1980 by Seagate Technology. ... This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Embedded servo or wedge servo is a type of servo configuration used on hard disks. ...


Eventually, Caviar drives were selling so well that WDC started to dispose of its other divisions. Paradise was sold to Philips (it has since disappeared), their networking and floppy drive controller divisions went to SMC Networks, and their SCSI chip business went to market leader Adaptec. Around 1995 the technological lead that the Caviar drives had enjoyed was eclipsed by newer offerings from other companies, especially Quantum, and WDC fell into a slump. Philips HQ in Amsterdam Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. (Royal Philips Electronics N.V.), usually known as Philips, (Euronext: PHIA, NYSE: PHG) is one of the largest electronics companies in the world. ... SMC Networks is a company that provides hardware, which forms and supports the network infrastructure for enterprise scale systems and services. ... Adaptec, Inc. ... Quantum Corporation is a manufacturer of tape drive products, based in San Jose, California. ...


Products and ideas of this time didn't go far; the Portfolio drive (a 3-inch form factor model, developed with JT Storage) was a flop, as was the SDX hard disk to CD-ROM interface. WDC's drives started to slip further behind products by other makers, and quality began to suffer; system builders and PC enthusiasts who used to recommend WDC above all else were going to the competition, particularly Maxtor, whose products had improved significantly by the late 1990s. Form factor refers to the linear dimensions and configuration of a device as distinguished from other measures of size (for example Gigabytes; a measure of storage size): in computing, form factor is used to describe the size and format of PC motherboards (see AT, ATX, BTX), but also of hard... JT Storage (also known as JTS) was a maker of inexpensive IDE hard drives for personal computers based in San Jose, California. ... The CD-ROM (an abbreviation for Compact Disc Read-Only Memory (ROM)) is a non-volatile optical data storage medium using the same physical format as audio compact discs, readable by a computer with a CD-ROM drive. ... In the computer industry, a System Builder is a person or company who is in the practice of creating (generally from scratch) a personal computer system from individual components. ... Maxtor Corporation (NYSE: MXO) was (as of December 2005) the worlds third-largest manufacturer of computer hard disk drives, before its acquisition by Seagate in 2006. ...


To attempt to turn the tide, in 1998, WDC recruited the help of IBM. This agreement gave WDC the rights to use certain IBM technologies, including giant magneto-resistive (GMR) heads, and access to IBM production facilities. The result was the Expert line of drives, introduced in early 1999. The idea worked, and WDC regained much respect in the press and among users, even despite a recall in 2000 (which was due to bad motor driver chips). WDC has since broken ties to IBM. International Business Machines Corporation (IBM, or colloquially, Big Blue) (NYSE: IBM) (incorporated June 15, 1911, in operation since 1888) is headquartered in Armonk, New York, USA. The company manufactures and sells computer hardware, software, and services. ... The Giant Magnetoresistive Effect (GMR) is a quantum mechanical effect observed in thin film structures composed of alternating ferromagnetic and nonmagnetic layers. ...


Present day

WDC is also notable because it is the first manufacturer which, in 2001, offered mainstream ATA hard disk drives with 8 MB of cache buffer. At that time most desktop hard disk drives (HDDs) had 2 MB of buffer. WDC labeled the 8 MB models as "Special Edition" and distinguished them with the JB code (the 2 MB models had the BB code). The first 8 MB cache drive was the 100 GB WD1000JB and soon models with capacities from 40 GB to 250 GB and more followed. WDC advertised the JB models as a good choice for cost-effective file servers. A megabyte is a unit of information or computer storage equal to exactly one million bytes. ... Look up cache in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In computing, a buffer is a region of memory used to temporarily hold output or input data, comparable to buffers in telecommunication. ... A gigabyte (derived from the SI prefix giga-) is a unit of information or computer storage equal to one billion (short scale, meaning a thousand million) bytes. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


In 2003, WD acquired most of the assets of bankrupt hard drive one-time market leading magnetic read-write head developer Read-Rite Corporation. In the same year, WDC offered the first 10,000 rpm Serial ATA HDD: The WD360GD "Raptor" with a capacity of 36GB and an average access time of less than 6 milliseconds. Soon, the 74GB WD740GD, which is also much quieter, followed and in 2005 Western Digital released the 150GB version, the WD1500. As of 2004 the "Raptor" drives have 5 years of warranty, making them a more attractive choice for inexpensive storage servers, where a large number of drives in constant use increases the likelihood of a drive failure. In 2006, Western Digital introduced its MyBook line of mass market external hard drives that feature a clever, compact book-like design. By the end of 2006 Western digital had introduced a 1TB (1000GB) version - the largest in its MyBook range, consisting of two 500GB drives in a single enclosure. Revolutions per minute (abbreviated rpm, RPM, r/min, or min-1) is a unit of frequency, commonly used to measure rotational speed, in particular in the case of rotation around a fixed axis. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The WD740GD The Raptor is a high-end hard disk drive series produced by Western Digital, that managed virtually single-handedly to create its own niche: The enthusiast and smaller server market. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... In telecommunication, the term file server has the following meanings: A high-capacity disk storage device or a computer that each computer on a network can use or access and retrieve files that can be shared among attached computers. ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ...


Recently, WD sells many hard drives with a warranty of three years included in the retail price, but they offer the customer the option of purchasing a longer (two- or three-year) warranty on their web site. This policy allows the same physical product to serve two markets — the most price-sensitive buyers simply pay the list price, while buyers who are willing to pay extra for a longer warranty get what they want.


Innovations

Western Digital were responsible for a number of innovations, including

  • c.1971: WD1402A, the first single-chip UART
  • c.1976: WD1771, the first single-chip floppy disk controller
  • 1981: WD1010, the first single-chip ST-506 controller
  • 1983: WD1003 hard disk controller, predecessor to ATA
  • 1986: Co-developed ATA with Compaq and Control Data
  • 1986: WD33C93, one of the first SCSI interface chips
  • 1987: WD7000, first bus-mastering ISA SCSI controller
  • 1987: WD37C65, first single-chip PC/AT-compatible floppy disk controller
  • 1988: WD42C22, first single-chip ATA hard disk controller
  • 1990: Caviar drives introduced
  • 2001: the first mass market IDE drive with an 8MB buffer
  • 2003: the first SATA drive running at 10,000 rpm
  • 2004: Media Center, the first flash memory media reader combined with a hard drive
  • 2006: the first hard disk drive with a clear window in the cover[2][3]

In computers, the Media Center, branded by Western Digital, is a 7,200-rpm hard drive (either 160GB or 250GB), combined with a reader of CompactFlash Type I and II, Microdrive, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, MultimediaCard, Secure Digital, and SmartMedia media. ...

See also

Products

The WD740GD The Raptor is a high-end hard disk drive series produced by Western Digital, that managed virtually single-handedly to create its own niche: The enthusiast and smaller server market. ... MyBook is a series of external hard drives produced by Western Digital. ...

Competitors

For the district in Saga, Japan, see Fujitsu, Saga. ... Hitachi Global Storage Technologies is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd. ... Maxtor Corporation (NYSE: MXO) was (as of December 2005) the worlds third-largest manufacturer of computer hard disk drives, before its acquisition by Seagate in 2006. ... Seagate Technology (NYSE: STX) is a major American manufacturer of hard drives, founded in 1979 and based in Scotts Valley, California. ... Samsung Group is one of the largest South Korean business groupings. ... Seagate Technology (NYSE: STX) is a major American manufacturer of hard drives, founded in 1979 and based in Scotts Valley, California. ...

References

  • Years of Innovation: The History of Western Digital (pdf). Western Digital. Archived from the original on 1997-11-10.
  • Great Microprocessors of the Past and Present by John Bayko
  1. ^ Google Finance
  2. ^ WD Raptor® X Hard Drive Inherits Enterprise-class WD Raptor Performance and Reveals the Technology Behind its Speed. Western Digital (2006-01-05). Retrieved on 2006-12-06.
  3. ^ WD Raptor® X Hard Drive. Western Digital. Retrieved on 2007-01-22.

1997 (MCMXCVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... November 10 is the 314th day of the year (315th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 51 days remaining. ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ... January 5 is the 5th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ... December 6 is the 340th day (341st on leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the Anno Domini (common) era. ... January 22 is the 22nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links

  • Western Digital website

  Results from FactBites:
 
Western Digital - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1098 words)
Western Digital Corporation NYSE: WDC (often abbreviated to WD) is a manufacturer of a large proportion of the world's hard disks, and has a long history in the electronics industry as an IC maker and a storage products company.
Western Digital was founded on April 23, 1970 as General Digital, initially (and briefly) a manufacturer of MOS semiconductor test equipment.
In 1976, Western Digital declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Western Europe dominates worldwide market: Digital Photography Review (648 words)
Western Europe is the largest digital camera market in the world, according to a study by InfoTrends/CAP Ventures.
Around 22.5 million digital cameras were sold last year in Western Europe and that figure is expected to increase by 32% in 2005.
Canon and Nikon’s consumer digital SLR cameras have been selling well, and the consumer digital SLR segment represents growth opportunities for vendors in a market that is rapidly changing from being highly profitable to one where profits are squeezed.
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