On Sun, 13 Feb 2000, J.D. Bakker wrote:
> My estimate is that adding a minimal StrongARM+100BT to a disk drive adds
> $40-$50 maximum to the BOM cost at volumes >10k; less if you go for higher
> quantities and stuff an SA-1 (or other fast core) and integrated 100BT
> into an ASIC.
I don't doubt the feasability of the HW design at all at that price. The
main problem is probably simply cold feet. Imagine you are a hot-shot HD
manufacturer. You instinctively feel "this is cool stuff", and prepare the
design and R&D. All is well. Until you come to think "can I even find 1
million customers who understands how to use this thingy?", and if the
answer is no, "oops.. our support organisation who are accustomed to
questions like 'should this jumper be at slave or master' would probably
hate me for getting them 1 million calls asking about network
configuration issues, system administration issues etc".
The HD manufacturer would probably in that situation just put on the
ethernet interface, additional RAM, verify that it can run some OS'es,
then make some OEM deals with a linux server company to design and support
the OS and utils that will go into it. But it would still probably be just
an experimental launch - even if you can raise the price due to the
additional product value, will enough people buy it to warrant putting
down energy on it instead of just churning out some more millions of
"dumb" drivers ?
Of course, as time goes, the price premium for the manufacturer to
integrate a better CPU with cycles left for doing networking stuff (and
extra memory) will be so little that they simply can open up the drive
specifications to companies who want to take a shot at it. Maybe we're
already there, I don't know.
One possible intermediary is to sell a small board that attaches to the
bottom of the drive, with a pass-through power connector and a bridge to
the IDE port. Would break the 3.5" form factor though.
> [who would be surprised if the Ethernet transformer wouldn't be the
> dominating factor in the PCB area calculation]
FWIW, the RJ45 connector manufacturers nowadays provide models with
integrated transformers. The connector just grows some 5 mm longer.
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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Feb 15 2000 - 21:00:24 EST