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Consumer Electronics Solutions.
Consumer electronic solutions are used in DVRs, gaming consoles, set top boxes,
camcorders and entertainment and navigation systems in automobiles. Our consumer electronic solutions include hard
drives designed and optimized for video streaming applications and continuous digital video recording, such as set-
top-boxes, DVRs and surveillance. These hard drives deliver the characteristics CE manufacturers seek most, which are
quiet operation, low operating temperature, low power consumption, high reliability and optimized streaming capa-
bilities. Our consumer electronics unit shipments were 28 million, 17 million and 21 million for 2013, 2012 and
2011, respectively.
Research and Development
We devote substantial resources to the development of new products and the improvement of existing products.
We focus our engineering efforts on coordinating our product design and manufacturing processes to bring our prod-
ucts to market in a cost-effective and timely manner. Research and development expenses totaled $1.6 billion, $1.1
billion and $703 million in 2013, 2012 and 2011, respectively. For a discussion of risks related to our development of
new products, see Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Technology and Product Development
Hard Drives
Hard drives provide non-volatile data storage, which means that the data remains present when power is no
longer applied to the device. The primary measures of hard drive performance include:
Acoustics -- sound power emitted during hard drive operation, commonly expressed in decibels, and perceived
loudness due to sound pressure, commonly expressed in sones;
Data transfer rate -- sustained rate of data transfer to and from the disk, commonly expressed in gigabits per
Power consumption -- which is the amount of electricity required to operate the drive, measured in watts;
Seek time -- time needed to position the heads over a selected track on the disk surface, commonly expressed
in milliseconds;
Spindle rotation speed -- nominal rotation speed of the disks inside the hard drive, commonly expressed in
RPM or latency. Spindle rotation speeds commonly stated as 5,400, 7,200 and 15,000 RPM are sometimes
approximations; and
Storage capacity -- which is the amount of data that can be stored on the hard drive, commonly expressed in
GB or TB.
Industry-standard interfaces allow the drives to communicate with the host system. The primary interface for
PCs is SATA and the primary interfaces for enterprise systems are SAS, Fibre Channel and SATA.
The main components of the hard drive are a Head-Disk-Assembly ("HDA") and a Printed Circuit Board Assem-
bly ("PCBA").
The HDA includes heads, magnetic media, head positioning mechanism ("actuator") and spindle motor. A rigid
base and top cover contain these components in a contamination-controlled environment. One or more disks posi-
tioned around a motor-driven spindle hub that rotates the disks comprise the disk-pack assembly. The disk is made
up of a smooth substrate on which thin layers of magnetic materials are deposited. The head stack assembly ("HSA") is
comprised of a magnetic positioner and a pivot-arm module on which the individual heads, including suspension, are
mounted. Each disk surface has a head suspended directly above it, which can read data from or write data to the
spinning disk.
The PCBA includes both standard and custom integrated circuits, an interface connector to the host computer
and a power connector. The integrated circuits on the printed circuit board typically include a power device that con-
trols the motor and HSA positioner, and a System-on-Chip ("SoC") comprised of a drive interface, controller and
recording channel. The drive interface receives instructions from the host computer, while the controller directs the