STMicroelectronics Delivers New Generation of 'Near Zero Power' Disk Drive Preamplifiers for Sub-2.5" Drives in Portable Products

Higher Data Rate and Unprecedented Low Power Consumption Extends Battery Life and Opens New Markets for Small Hard Drives

GENEVA, July 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM) has launched a new generation of hard disk drive preamplifiers intended specifically for drives with less than 2.5 inch diameter platters. Named the Near Zero Power (NZP) series because of their exceptionally low power consumption, the new devices are an open-market evolution of ST's ULP (Ultra Low Power) family, offering significantly lower power requirement coupled with a five-times-higher data rate capability.

Disk drives with platter size smaller than 2.5 inch are currently used almost exclusively in MP3 players and portable video recorders and players. Total Write-Mode power consumption of the new L6440 -- the first device in the NZP family -- is just 170mW (at 450-Mbits/sec data rate), and will enable manufacturers to offer longer battery lifetime between charges, or more compact products with the same battery life by using a smaller battery. The L6440 is the latest implementation of proprietary architectures that aim to reduce power consumption and increase overshoot voltage.

ST's L6440 currently supports a maximum data rate of up to 600 Mbps, some three times higher than that of existing preamplifiers designed for portable applications. This significant speed increase will allow higher data transfer rates to and from storage devices, enabling the use of 1.8 inch drives in the emerging market for ultra-slim laptop PCs; most laptops now use bulkier 2.5 inch drives.

"Once again, ST is at the forefront of hard-disk drive IC technology, shattering the boundaries in power consumption," said Roberto Fantechi, General Manager of ST's Data Storage Division. "Our 'Near Zero Power' technology enables a new generation of open-market preamplifiers for sub-2.5 inch hard drives with unprecedented low power consumption, extending battery life and opening new markets for tiny hard drives."

ST's proprietary Fast Sleep Mode further reduces overall power requirements by allowing the preamplifier to remain in a sleep mode even most of time the end-product is operating, extending battery life. Fast Sleep combines low 250micro-W sleep power with very fast 500ns Sleep-to-Read recovery time, so that the amplifier can wake rapidly from Sleep to perform a short Read operation and then return to Sleep to save power. A Deep Sleep Mode reduces power consumption even lower, either under control or automatically after a 350micro-s timeout, at the expense of a slightly longer (2.5micro-s) recovery to Read.

The L6440 4-channel version and the L6420 2-channel preamplifiers are ready for both single- and dual-platter drives, supporting both longitudinal and perpendicular recording. Sample devices, priced at $5.00, plus an evaluation board, will be available from the end of July 2006, with volume production planned for Q1 2007. They will be shipped as bumped bare dice.

    This press release is also available at

    ... with links to further information on the L6440 and L6420

    About STMicroelectronics

STMicroelectronics is a global leader in developing and delivering semiconductor solutions across the spectrum of microelectronics applications. An unrivalled combination of silicon and system expertise, manufacturing strength, Intellectual Property (IP) portfolio and strategic partners positions the Company at the forefront of System-on-Chip (SoC) technology and its products play a key role in enabling today's convergence markets. The Company's shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, on Euronext Paris and on the Milan Stock Exchange. In 2005, the Company's net revenues were $8.88 billion and net earnings were $266 million. Further information on ST can be found at

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