hard drive history

revolutions: 3600 > 4500 > 7200 rpm

Conner CFS270A

Photo: Red Hill.

Conner CFS270A

This may be the only example of this little-known Conner drive that I have ever seen. We didn't sell any of these new, and I don't recall ever seeing one come into the workshop. Pehaps another staff member extracted it from an old machine and put it to one side for my collection.

No matter! The interesting thing about this otherwise unremarkable drive is the distinctive alloy casing. The remarkably detailed manual for the CFS270 describes it like this:

"The drive assembly housing consists of an extruded aluminum base on which is mounted a drawn aluminum cover. In addition, the aluminum cover has a designed in breather filter and diffusion tube that prevents entry of contaminants which might degrade head and media reliability. Aluminum tape seals the joint between the base and cover."

Notice the tape seal: these drives used nothing but tape to seal the head-disk asssembly — many other drives have used tape instead of a pressure gasket (notably the "Caviar" branded Western Digitals) but always as an adjunct to screws or nuts, not as the only fastener.

Conner was bought out by Seagate shortly after this drive was manufactured, and the various Conner drives still in production were phased out not too long afterwards — Seagate rebadged a few for a while, but only for as long as it took to switch the lines over to something faster and more modern. But Seagate kept the peculiar Conner tape-seal alloy casing and used it for a long series of entry-level drives running right through to about 1998.

Illustration: Conner CFS270A with some of the many drives that followed its lead. Clockwise from bottom left, 540MB Conner CFS541A rebadged as a Seagate ST3541A, a very battered-looking factory refurb 1.08GB Medalist 1082, 1.28GB Medalist 1276, 1.7GB Medalist 1700, 2.5GB Medalist 2532, and 2.1GB Medalist 4500.

None of us remember the CFS270A, and the one example that I have expired many years ago, but the factory figures tell us that it would have been very slow, especially given the weird 3400 RPM spindle.

Performance0.65Reliabilityno data
Data rate34.8 Mbit/secSpin rate3400 RPM
Seek time12msBuffer32k
Platter capacity270MBEncodingRLL
Form3½" ⅓heightInterfaceIDE mode 3
CFS270A270.9MB2 thin-film heads