Western Digital Corporation (often abbreviated to WDC or WD) is one of the largest computer hard disk drive (along withSeagate Technology) manufacturers in the world. It has a long history in the electronics industry as an integrated circuitmaker and a storage products company. Western Digital was founded on April 23, 1970 by Alvin B. Phillips, a Motorola employee, as General Digital, initially (and briefly) a manufacturer of MOS test equipment. It rapidly became a specialitysemiconductor maker, with start-up capital provided by several individual investors and industrial giant Emerson Electric Company. Around July 1971, it adopted its current name and soon introduced its first product, the WD1402A UART Through the early years of the 1970s, WDC made their money by selling calculator chips; by 1975, they were the largest independent calculator chip maker in the world. Theoil crisis of the mid-1970s and the bankruptcy of its biggest calculator customer, Bowmar Instrument, changed its fortunes, however. In 1976, Western Digital declaredChapter 11 bankruptcy. After this, Emerson withdrew their support of the company, and WDC was on its own.
WDC introduced several landmark products during this time, including the MCP-1600 multi-chip, microcoded CPU. The MCP-1600 was used to implement DEC's LSI-11system and their own Pascal MicroEngine microcomputer which ran the UCSD p-System Version III and UCSD Pascal. The processor was also used in several single-chipfloppy disk drive controller chips, notably the FD1771.
In 2001, Western Digital became the first manufacturer to offer mainstream ATA hard disk drives with 8 MB (8 MiB) of cache, ordisk buffer. At that time, most desktop hard disk drives had 2 MB of buffer. WDC labeled these 8 MB models as "Special Edition"and distinguished them with the JB code (the 2 MB models had the BB code). The first 8 MB cache drive was the 100 GBWD1000JB. Models starting from capacities from 40 GB followed. WD advertised the JB models as a good choice for cost-effectivefile servers.
In 2003, WD acquired most of the assets of bankrupt one-time market leading magnetic hard drive read-write head developer Read-Rite Corporation. In the same year, WD offered the first 10,000 rpm Serial ATA HDD: The WD360GD "Raptor" with a capacity of 36 GB and an average access time of less than 6 milliseconds. Soon, the 74 GB WD740GD, which is also much quieter, followed and in 2005 Western Digital released the 150 GB version, the WD1500. As of 2004 the WD Raptor drives have 5 years of warranty, making them a more attractive choice for inexpensive storage servers, where a large number of drives in constant use increases the likelihood of a drive failure. In 2006, Western Digital introduced its My Book line of mass market external hard drives that feature a compact book-like design. On the 7th October 2007 Western Digital released several editions of a single 1 TB hard drive - the largest in its My Book line.
In 2007, Western Digital acquired magnetic media maker Komag. Also in the same year, Western Digital adopted perpendicular recording technology in its line of notebook and desktop drives. This allowed it to produce notebook and desktop drives in the largest classes of the time. Western Digital also started to produce the energy efficient GP (Green Power) range of drives notable for their very low power consumption and heat dissipation but surprisingly good performance
In 2007 Western Digital announced the WD GP drive touting rotational speed "between 7200 and 5400 rpm", which, if potentially misleading, is technically correct; the drive spins at 5405 rpm, and the Green Power spin speed is not variable.
On April 21, 2008, Western Digital announced the next generation of its 10,000 rpm SATA WD Raptor series of hard drives. The new drives, called WD VelociRaptor, feature 300 GB capacity and 2.5-inch (64 mm) platters enclosed in the IcePack, a 3.5-inch (89 mm) mounting frame with a built-in heat sink. Western Digital claims the new drives are 35 percent faster than the previous generation WD Raptors.
On September 12, 2008, Western Digital shipped a 500 GB 2.5-inch (64 mm) notebook hard drive which is part of their Scorpio Blue series of notebook hard drives.
On January 27, 2009, Western Digital shipped the first 2 TB internal hard disk drive.]
On March 30, 2009, WD entered the solid-state drive market with the acquisition of Siliconsystems, Inc.
On July 27, 2009, Western Digital announced the first 1 TB mobile hard disk drive, which shipped as both a Passport series portable USB drive as well as a Scorpio Blue series notebook drive.
WD currently sells many hard drives with a warranties of either one, two, three, or five yearsincluded in the retail price, but it offers the customer the option of purchasing a longer (two- or three-year) warranty on its web site. Three years is the current industry standard and while Seagate Technology (a competitor) used to offer a 5 years of warranty for all its drives, it recently moved back to a three-year warranty for its bulk (bare/OEM) consumer-level drives.
High performance Raptor drives as well as the Caviar Black Series and RE Series still come with a five-year warranty.