CMI 6426

1985CMI 6426

Drive technical problems impact IBM PC/AT acceptance

Why its important
One of the more spectacular drive failures to achieve public exposure, it was exacerbated by problems with the operating system.


Computer Memories, Inc. (CMI) was one of the three suppliers of 10 MByte (formatted) hard disk drives to IBM for the PC/XT.

In 1984 IBM exclusively sourced from CMI a 20MByte (formatted) hard disk drive for IBM's new PC/AT. It is believed the particular model was the CMI 6426

During 1985 the public became aware of hard system failures attributed to the CMI drives. Apparently the underlying problem was a higher than expected recoverable error rate which was turned into non-recoverable errors by defective error recovery in the operating system.

Core International, seeing a market opportunity, offered to swap, for a fee, the 20 MByte drive with a superior product and use the swapped to product to build a breakwater at Boca Raton, then the headquarters of the IBM PC division. Whether the breakwater was ever built is unknown.

IBM cancelled its contract with CMI in Aug 1985, replacing them with products from Seagate and IBM Rochester.

Finis Conner was the CEO of CMI from approximately Sep 23, 1985 until Oct 13, 1985, resigning for "personal reasons."

CMI exited the hard disk drive business in Jun 1986 and its manufacturing facility was auctioned off in Aug.

Additional Information
"IBM AT Disks In Low Supply," Information System News, Dec 24, 1984
"IBM and CMI in Joint Effort to Rehab AT Hard-Disk Rejects" PC Week, Mar 19, 1985
"IBM to Let CMI Winchester Pact Expire," Electronic News, Aug 19, 1985, p. 22
Megabyte Tarnish, PC Australia, Sep 1985
"New Chairman Quits At Computer Memories," NY Times, Oct 14, 1985, p. 24
CMI Form 10-K for Fiscal Year ending Mar 31, 1986, dated Jun 27, 1986
"Computer Memories, Inc auction advertisement," Electronic News, Aug 28, 1986

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