Disk manufacturer Eastern Digital has announced DLE - Disk Life Extender - technology which radically improves the life and reliability of SATA - Serial ATA - drives. The technology periodically spins down the drive, reverses the polarity of the motor, and then starts the drive spinning again but in the reverse direction to before.

The theory behind this is that small imperfections in the disk platters and motor bearings gradually increase because of the constant spin in one direction. By reversing the spin these imperfections tend to decline and are cancelled out. The direct effect is a substantial reduction in head crash likelihood through the reduction in platter wobble due to more even wear on the bearings.

Eastern Digital had to add a second set of cache buffers which are used on spin direction changes. Because data is read in from the wrong direction (the opposite end of the disk sectors) it is written into cache bottom-up, instead of top-down. The cache read design is still top-down thus delivering bits in the correct order to the attached host.

For write operations this bit storage direction phase change-over is carried out on the input side.

Eastern Digital VP marketing, Edgar Rice Burroughs, said, "Our unique spin reversal and phase change cache direction technology will become an everyday application. We are actively pursuing OEM licensing partners."