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Warning: IDE interfaces face imminent extinction

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While the hard disk marketplace was anticipating that Parallel ATA, or IDE, interfaces would  be phased out by the end of 2009, this is likely to happen as soon as the end of next year – or even earlier. End users should also be aware that if there is a continued shortage of IDE stock, pricing for IDE would also rise. 

According to Shane Hutchinson, Western Digital Brand Manager at Pinnacle Micro, Serial ATA (SATA) has been available for at least three years – “and is now arguably the interface to choose.” There are also growing rumours that some suppliers will simply stop supplying IDE.
He says there are still legacy systems – such as DVR systems – that run on the ‘old’ IDE interface. But once IDE is phased out, or stopped, these users are going to have to upgrade their hardware and move to the newer technology.
Hutchinson adds there is also a shift from an 80Gb platter to a 160Gb version.
“By April next year, or sooner, the 160Gb version will be the industry-standard entry level. If there are shortages of 80Gb versions this could happen before April 2008. In addition, by the first or second quarter of next year, the pricing of the 80Gb and 160Gb solutions will be the same. It would be advisable for any companies who are planning to roll out projects next year to switch to a 160Gb-based platform.”
Western Digital is currently selling both IDE and SATA, but is encouraging clients to move to the newer technology as soon as possible.
“The move to SATA is definitely increasing markedly due to the general expectation that its higher performance will endorse it as the next standard interconnect for external devices, offering an obsolescence prevention plan for consumers. SATA also currently uses the same interface technology that has become standard in PCs.”
Western Digital has an 8% share of the South African hard disk market and a 38% slice of the international market.
For the financial year 2006 the company recorded a 0,91% statistic failure rate on its products. The accepted average failure rate in any electronics field is 2%.