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Disk drive MindStor

Evgenie Rudometov, Victor Rudometov.

According to requirements of the market of digital cameras company Minds@Work has created compact disk drive MindStor which can be used professionals and fans of a digital photo as a convenient and reliable resource for storage and information resocks, schitannoj from flash-cards. Besides, given arrangement can be used as the transportable disk drive of a high capacity which are hooked up through interfaces USB 1.1 and FireWire.

The modern arrangements linked to processing of the multimedia information differ extremely difficult architecture. To such products created with application of high technologies, first of all concern desktop and laptops, and also audio and videounits. For their successful maintenance the appropriate resources providing a durable and reliable information storage, and also its carrying over between the arrangements providing processing of multimedia data are required.

Usage for this purpose of traditional microfloppy diskettes in size of 1,44 Mb in view of their low information capacity is already irrelevant. The matter is that modern multimedia files quite often demand hundreds and even thousand similar diskettes. Promptly growing information contents demand new processing techniques, arrangements and carriers. And if the problem of transportable arrangements in case of computers to some extent dares, that, for example, for digital cameras the specified task costs more than sharply.

Really, for desktop and laptops the wide spectrum of the arrangements providing storage and carrying over of the information is developed. Unfortunately, they far not always meet all requirements of existing computer processing techniques. Mainly, it concerns size, dependability and the price of storage of unit of the information. Products of type ZIP concern such arrangements, and CD, and DVD, and flash-memory cards also. They have, of course, occupied appropriate niches, but cannot apply for a role of ideal resources if, of course, it in general is possible. However, there are arrangements of type ZIV Drive which thanks to in the structure of modern 2,5-inch hard disks differ compactness and high information capacity at low cost of storage of unit of the information.

However at all advantages these arrangements, at least are not intended yet for offline work with digital cameras. Though there are the models which operation is carried out from CD and DVD, for this class of products they are faster an exception, than widespread arrangements. Now the main carrier are the products created on the basis of flash-processing technique. Last, released in the mass edition, size, as a rule, not exceeding 128 Mb today possess at the price of an order of 80-150 US dollars. In case of 256 Mb the price makes already $150-250, but can and exceed the given level. High cost of cards of flash-memory does not allow to use this type of arrangements for the durable information storage which sizes permanently grow. For example, the file in a format jpg at the permission 1152x864 and compression in 3 times has size about 600 Kbytes, at usage of the same level of compression at the permission 1280x960 — about 700 Kbytes, and in case of format TIFF at the permission 2240x1680 without compression the file size makes already about 12 Mb. It is easy to calculate, that the informational size of flash-memory of 128 Mb will allow to save only 10 frames of the last variant.

Such state of affairs stimulates development of the processing techniques providing, for example, carrying over of the information on alternative storage devices in which quality can appear either computers — desktop or portable, or the special arrangements, capable to provide offline work with multimedia products which digital cameras concern also.

In low cost of an information storage interest of computer corporations to the arrangements which are grounded on usage in their structure of hard disks and hooked up by means of interfaces of type USB and FireWire (IEEE 1394, 4 pin or 6 pin) speaks .

Capacity of interfaces USB and IEEE 1394

The interface

Maximum speed, Mb per second

USB 1.1


USB 2.0




According to requirements of the market of digital cameras company Minds@Work ( has created the compact disk drive which has received name MindStor.

Fig. 1. Disk drive MindStor

Disk drive MindStor is equipped by the microcontroller with RISC the processor, 2,5 inch hard disk and a set of the specialised software. All it provides support of communication possibilities for data exchange between the disk drive, digital cameras and computers through high-speed interfaces.

Among the main functional modes it is necessary to mark possibility of usage of this arrangement for carrying over of the information from maps of flash-memory and its storage on hard disk MindStor.

Arrangement MindStor is compatible to the following types of memory maps used together with digital cameras:

  • CompactFlash
  • IBM Microdrive
  • Sony Memory Stick
  • SmartMedia
  • Intel StrataFlash
  • Panasonic SD Memory Card
  • MultiMedia Card

Support of different types of memory maps is provided by means of usage of the special adapters which are hooked up to MindStor through its PCMCIA plug. Thus necessary adapters should be gained the user at additional expense.

Fig. 2. Disk drive MindStor with the adapter and a flash-flash card

Usage of the given arrangement together with digital cameras allows to lower essentially cost of maintenance last to what the following estimations taken from the documentation on MindStor testify.

Fig. 3. Matching of cost of storage of one mbyte in case of usage of different models MindStor and types of memory maps (flash-memory of 64 Mb)

Except the specified mode, arrangement MindStor can be used and as the usual transportable disk drive, as, for example, ZIV Drive. Such products can be used at seminars, conferences and presentations. These disk drives can be applied and as the additional arrangements of the information storage which has been hooked up to computers of type Desktop and Notebook, expanding their usual possibilities. As well as ZIV Drive, disk drives MindStor can be used as external hard disks for operation with the confidential information which databases quite often concern, financial calculations, dogovory, reports, agreements, letters, etc . After the termination of operation disk drive MindStor can be easily disconnected from the computer and is hidden in the safe or taken with itself.

Disk drive MindStor key parametres

The processor

Microprocessor RISC

Size of models, Gbytes

5, 10, 20

The display, type

Monochrome matrix LCD
(The drawing is not supported)

External power supplies

External —Worldwide AC Adapter 90-240 In (50-60 Hz), 9,6 In 1100 мA
Standalone — recharged, substituted battery NiMH 7,2 In size 650 мА*час

Operating time from the battery, on the average, mines


Resource of the battery, charge cycles



USB 1.1 (4 pin),
FireWire (IEEE 1394, 4 pin or 6 pin)

Transfer rate, Mb per second

0,6-0,8 for USB
18 for FireWire

Speed of rotation HDD, rpm (rpm)


Access time HDD (Seek Time), a msec

3 (Track-to-track),
13 (Average),
25 (Maximum)

Average delay (Average Latency), a msec


Size of the buffer, a Kbyte


Time between failures (MTTF), hour

 300 000

Support by operating systems

Windows XP, Windows2000, Windows98SE, WindowsME,
Mac OS 9.0 +

Admissible dynamic loads, G

1.0 (Operating Vibration),
150 (Operating Shock),
750 (Non-Operating Shock)

Admissible temperature, hailstones With

0-50 (in a functional mode),
-10-60 (in a standby mode)

The sizes, mm

142,2 x 76,2 x 30,5

Weight, g

345 (with the battery)

From features of installation necessary for operation of transportable disk drive MindStor of drivers it is necessary to mark their rather simple and fast installation, and also the subsequent recognition of arrangements by widespread operating systems of Windows XP, Windows2000, Windows98SE, WindowsME,
Mac OS 9.0 +. By the way, a unique possible file system for disk drive MindStor is FAT32.

In the course of testing of model MindStor in size of 5 Gbytes after installation of drivers applied on the optical carrier the system of Windows 2000 has identified at once the arrangement as the external drive which has been hooked up by means of bus USB/IEEE1394. It is shown on fig. 4-7 where the list of the arrangements which are logging on the computer in particular is presented. 

Fig.  4. Online unit MindStor.

As a result of software installation in system there will be a new arrangement — a removable disk I. It illustrates fig. 5.

Fig.  5. The list of logical disks, including MindStor

Fig.  6. The list of arrangements after hooking up MindStor through IEEE1394

Fig.  7. The list of arrangements after hooking up MindStor through USB

Further operation with transportable disk drive MindStor is carried out as with a new hard disk.

As has shown arrangement MindStor testing, its operation really occurs at rather high speed of data transfer, characteristic for the products which are hooked up to ports USB or IEEE1394. For matching arrangement ZIV Drive of 20 Gbytes and a hard disk of IBM DPTA in size of 20 Gbytes, by speed of rotation of disks of 7200 rpm, the internal cache memory of 2 Mb and the interface of hooking up IDE (EIDE) UltraDMA/66 (ATA/66) have been tested also    .

Results of testing MindStor with hooking up through IEEE1394

WinBench 99 v1.1


MindStor (IEEE1394)

20 Gbytes

Disk Transfer Rate:Beginning (1000 byte/c)



Disk Transfer Rate:End (1000 byte/c)



Business Disk WinMark 99 (1000 byte/c)



High-End Disk WinMark 99 (1000 byte/c)



Disk Access Time (Milliseconds)



Disk CPU Utilization (Percent Used)



Disk Playback/HE:AVS/Express 3.4 (1000 byte/c)



Disk Playback/HE:FrontPage 98 (1000 byte/c)



Disk Playback/HE:MicroStation SE (1000 byte/c)



Disk Playback/HE:Overall (1000 byte/c)



Disk Playback/HE:Photoshop 4.0 (1000 byte/c)



Disk Playback/HE:Premiere 4.2 (1000 byte/c)



Disk Playback/HE:Sound Forge 4.0 (1000 byte/c)



Disk Playback/HE:Visual C ++ 5.0 (1000 byte/c)



Results of testing MindStor, ZIV Drive and HDD IBM

Disk Transfer Rate

End, 1000 byte/c

Begin, 1000 byte/c




MindStor IEEE1394






Results of testing MindStor, ZIV Drive and HDD IBM

High-End Disk WinMark 99

1000 byte/c



MindStor IEEE1394




Results of testing MindStor, ZIV Drive and HDD IBM

Business Disk WinMark 99

1000 byte/c

MindStor USB




MindStor IEEE1394





Fig. 8. Results of performance of test Business Disk WinMark 99

Fig. 9. Results of performance of test High-End Disk WinMark 99

Fig. 10. Results of performance of test Disk Access Time

Fig. 11. Results of performance of test Disk Data Trasfer Rate

Fig. 12. The schedule of the test of definition of a transfer rate through IEEE1394

In summary it is necessary to underline once again, that company Minds@Work disk drive MindStor is the multifunctional arrangement. It provides usage of the arrangement as the transportable disk drive, together with the reader, and a saver of the information transferred from maps of flash-memory on the built in hard disk without involvement of the computer. In addition to it the given arrangement can be used for standalone reading of the text information in format TXT on built in display LCD, the truth, while only in the coding Latin characters without support kirilitsy. The resources built in its structure allow to carry out the operative control and handle of arrangement MindStor, including review of a contained hard disk and a flash-memory map, map cleaning, handle of the display etc .

In view of high technical parametres and good consumer properties disk drive MindStor can be recommended professionals and fans of a digital photo as a convenient and reliable resource for storage and resocks of programs and data.

It is published in log "КомпьютерАрт"

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