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Storage giant Seagate has made a strategic equity investment in custom chip design firm eASIC.

The companies didn’t disclose the amount of the deal.

On top of the investment, both companies are exploring the chance to jointly develop custom chips for Seagate’s portfolio of solid state drives — the flash memory-based cards that are replacing hard disk drives in many computers.

Seagate has been launching more of its own solid state drives (SSDs) in response to the changing market for corporate data storage: Flash chips, which are low-power, fast, and expensive, increasingly compete on a better cost footing with cheap, power-hungry, and slow hard disk drives in corporate data centers.

eASIC is a kind of middleman that makes it easier for chip designers to create custom chips that they can bring to market much faster than traditional custom semiconductors. Flash chips are getting more complex to design as the number of interfaces that interact with them multiply. Seagate and eASIC want to craft high-performance, low-cost, and low-power chips that can be targeted at consumer, enterprise, and cloud markets.

“eASIC has demonstrated innovative custom silicon technology with our industry-leading solid state hybrid drives (SSHDs)”, said Rocky Pimentel, chief sales and marketing officer at Seagate, in a statement. “eASIC’s ability to quickly develop custom differentiated solutions while meeting stringent cost, power and performance requirements will enable us to rapidly deliver storage solutions and improve our product position in both SSD and SSHD’s.”

“We are extremely excited to be working with one of the world leaders in storage technology,” said Ronnie Vasishta, president and chief executive of eASIC. “Seagate has an exceptional history in bringing world class technology and innovation to the storage market. Using our eASIC [technology] will help Seagate to bring storage innovation at a pace not yet seen in this industry.”

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