Enhanced Small Disk Interface

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Hard disk drive cable, and MCA-board disk controller of the IBM PS/2 Model 55 SX
DBA (Direct Bus Attachment) connector for connecting train hard disk interface ESDI/ST-412

Enhanced Small Disk Interface (ESDI) was a disk interface designed by Maxtor Corporation in the early 1980s to be a follow-on to the ST-506 interface. ESDI improved on ST-506 by moving certain parts that were traditionally kept on the controller (such as the data separator) into the drives themselves, and also generalizing the control bus such that more kinds of devices (such as removable disks and tape drives) could be connected. ESDI used the same cabling as ST-506 (one 34-pin common control cable, and a 20-pin data channel cable for each device), and thus could easily be retrofitted to ST-506 applications.

ESDI was popular in the mid-to-late 1980s, when SCSI and IDE technologies were young and immature, and ST-506 was neither fast nor flexible enough. ESDI could handle data rates of 10, 15, or 20 Mbit/s (as opposed to ST-506's top speed of 7.5 Mbit/s), and many high-end SCSI drives of the era were actually high-end ESDI drives with SCSI bridges integrated on the drive.

By 1990, SCSI had matured enough to handle high data rates and multiple types of drives, and ATA was quickly overtaking ST-506 in the desktop market. These two events made ESDI less and less important over time, and by the mid-1990s, ESDI was no longer in common use.

Connector Pinouts[edit]

ESDI 34-pin Control Connector Pinout
GROUND 1 2 ~HD SLCT 3
GROUND 3 4 ~HD SLCT 2
GROUND 5 6 ~WRITE GATE
GROUND 7 8 ~CNFG/STATUS
GROUND 9 10 ~XFER ACK
GROUND 11 12 ~ATTENTION
GROUND 13 14 ~HD SLCT 0
Key (no pin) 15 16 ~SECTOR
GROUND 17 18 ~HD SLCT 1
GROUND 19 20 ~INDEX
GROUND 21 22 ~READY
GROUND 23 24 ~XFER REQ
GROUND 25 26 ~DRV SLCT 0
GROUND 27 28 ~DRV SLCT 1
GROUND 29 30 Reserved
GROUND 31 32 ~READ GATE
GROUND 33 34 ~CMD DATA
ESDI 20-pin Data Connector Pinout
~DRV SLCTD 1 2 ~SECTOR
~CMD COMPL 3 4 ~ADDR MK EN
GROUND 5 6 GROUND
+WRITE CLK 7 8 -WRITE CLK
GROUND 9 10 +RD/REF CLK
-RD/REF CLK 11 12 GROUND
+NRZ WRITE 13 14 -NRZ WRITE
GROUND 15 16 GROUND
+NRZ READ 17 18 -NRZ READ
GROUND 19 20 ~INDEX

References[edit]

This article is based on material taken from the Free On-line Dictionary of Computing prior to 1 November 2008 and incorporated under the "relicensing" terms of the GFDL, version 1.3 or later.