hard drive history

barriers: stuck at 528MB

Conner CFS-210A

Photo: Red Hill.

Conner CFS210A

In late 1993 the Conner CFS210A was an impresive new drive from an impressive new factory. 210MB wasn't a big drive by then — the CFS210A was one of the last new drives released in that size range — the market was already moving on to 340MB and 420MB

For many years, hard drives had mainly been manufactured in countries with highly-trained workforces and ample infrastructure: notably the United States, Japan, and in particular Singapore. These new Conner drives with the neat-looking blue labels came from Conner's new plant in China.

Nobody knew quite what to expect from them to start with, but the blue-label Conners soon developed a bad name in the trade — the Chinese build quality just wasn't the same, people said.

Perhaps Conner sorted out the rough spots in their big new plant before too long, perhaps the Chinese workforce got up to speed after a while, or perhaps there hadn't been too much wrong with the drives in the first place, it's hard to say. We did see quite a few of them fail, particularly early ones, but there have been worse drives.

In its favour, the CFS210A was noticably faster than most Conner drives and faster than most other 200MB-class competitors too — compare the performance figure below with other drives from the same period.

Data rate32 Mbit/secSpin rate3600 RPM
Seek time14msBuffer
Platter capacity213MBInterfaceIDE
Actuatorvoice coilForm3½" 1/3 height>
CFS-210A213.4MB2 thin-film heads**