CE-ATA 1.0 Specs Finalized

Just six months after CE-ATA was launched, a final 1.0 specification has been published for the storage interface for next-generation handhelds and portable consumer electronics devices. The announcement, made at IDF Spring 2005 in San Francisco, is not the only milestone reached this week for what promises to become the disk drive interface of choice in the handheld and CE market segment. The new CE-ATA interface standard for small form factor disk drives addresses requirements inherent to such small devices, including low pin count, low voltage, power efficiency, cost effectiveness and integration efficiency.

Just six months after CE-ATA was launched, a final 1.0 specification has been
published for the storage interface for next-generation handhelds and portable
consumer electronics devices. The announcement, made at IDF Spring 2005 in San
Francisco, is not the only milestone reached this week for what promises to
become the disk drive interface of choice in the handheld and CE market segment.

The first demonstration of an Intel host is being shown here. The demo, held at
the Intel Pavilion (Booth #15), is of a prototype Intel handheld media player
running video off a CE-ATA prototype disk drive supplied by Marvell. The CE-ATA
prototype drive is an off-the-shelf 1.8-inch hard drive re-fitted with Marvell’s
small-form-factor chipset and firmware, featuring the 88i6310 SOC, as well as
Marvell’s stacked flash, motor controller, switching regulator and preamplifier.
The host system used is an Intel development board for a PDA-style handheld that
features an Intel PXA270 processor running prototype host driver software
developed by Intel. A second demo highlighting key CE-ATA interface fundamentals
is being featured in the CE-ATA Working Group booth (#732) by Marvell and
Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. The demo illustrates the capabilities of
CE-ATA technology on a prototype PDA platform playing video stored on a Hitachi
Travelstar(1) 1.8-inch hard disk drive, which has been reconfigured with
Marvell’s chipset and firmware solution.

CE-ATA fills the void in an industry that had been lacking a disk drive
interface tailored to the needs of the handheld and CE market segments. The new
CE-ATA interface standard for small form factor disk drives addresses
requirements inherent to such small devices, including low pin count, low
voltage, power efficiency, cost effectiveness and integration efficiency.

Some of the goals and requirements for the specification include:

• Optimized for handheld embedded applications of storage
• Low/minimal pin count
• Accommodates fast time-to-market initial solution leveraging existing
technologies
• Provides interface transfer rates sufficient for current small form factor
disk drives with performance scalability to support several future product
generations
• Consistent with ATA software infrastructure, but complete legacy software
compatibility is not a requirement
• Only a single device need be accommodated per connection

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