ST-506 Interface

What Does ST-506 Interface Mean?

The ST-506 interface was a standard hard disk controller (HDC) and ST-506 interface used to connect personal computers (PC) and hard disk drives (HDD). It connected to a controller card with two cables and a third power cable and was the first five and a quarter-inch hard disk drive by Seagate Technology, formerly Shugart Technology.

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The ST-506 is also known as modified frequency modulation (MFM) – an encoding scheme for floppy drives and older HDDs.

Techopedia Explains ST-506 Interface

The ST-506 interface was derived from Shugart's SA1000 interface, which in turn was derived from the five and a quarter-inch floppy drive interface – facilitating easy disk controller design. The ST-506, ST-412 and ST-412RLL interfaces were de facto HDD standards through the 1990s. Unlike modern hard disk drive systems, on-board processing power was not provided, which was a non-issue during that period.

The ST-506 disk drive lacked buffered seek capability and averaged a seek time of only 170 ms, versus ST-412 drives with buffered seek capability, which averaged 85 ms and 15-30 ms by the late 1980s.

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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.