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|Version||User||Scope of changes|
|Jun 12 2008, 11:53 AM EDT||tom94022||4 words added, 1 word deleted|
|Jun 12 2008, 3:58 AM EDT||quentinq||12 words added, 7 words deleted|
Key: Additions Deletions
|1984||Data Disc (Datapoint)|
|Failure of a technologically pioneering company|
Why its important
Data Disc was a pioneer in the use of a metal film recording layer and contact start-stop low mass sliders.Discussion
- The Data Disc low mass slider technology is generally accepted as a precursor to what became the Winchester head technology that came to dominate the HDD industry. IBM licensed the technology to avoid litigation over its Winchester head and suspension.
- Data Disc's plated recording layer was electrolessly plated and was difficult to produce due to the need to continuously replenish and balance the chemistry of the plating baths. Production disks used a plated protective rhodium overcoat to mitigate the effects of wear and stiction. The Data Disc media was used in a variety of multiple head-per-track disk drives produced in the 1960s and 70s that were used in low volume, exotic applications such as a Lawrence Livermore Labs graphic system and a control computer for the Voyager space probe. As an alternative to Rhodium, Data Disc developed a sputtered carbon film, but did not use it in production at that time.
- Data Disc went through a management shakeup in 1978 and changed its name to Amcomp.
- Datapoint, a San Antonio, Texas maker of microprocessor based, distributed computers and terminals purchased Amcomp in 1978. The company became Datapoint Peripheral Products division and was charged with developing magnetic storage devices for Datapoint.
- Under Datapoint ownership, a small disk drive was developed that shipped in late 1982 as a component of the 9301 subsystem. The drive used a propritary three element, lightly loaded moving head and a carbon sputtered plate film disk. About this time, Datapoint fell on hard times as the Personal Computer became a cost effective alternative to its unique terminals. The drive was not very cost effective and the unique technology was expensive to support. It was quickly replaced by an OEM drive from Seagate.
- What became known as the Magnetic Storage Division of Datapoint was sold to Xebec in 1984. Xebec wound down existing Datapoint products by October 1984.
- Datapoint corporate management had little interest in disk production processes, and no patents were pursued for the sputtered carbon process. Francis King published a paper on the process and then went on to implement the process at SyQuest. According to Disk/Trend, the first Syquest drive shipped in 1981.
"Datapoint Thin Film Media," F. K. King, IEEE TransMag, July 1981, p. 1376-79
Contributors: J Clemens