HGST demos 600Gbit/in² disk density

Disk vendors have a rough idea of how other to reach 10 TB drives within 10 years. But what about 2 years?
Written by Robin Harris, Contributor

Disk vendors have a rough idea of how other to reach 10 TB drives within 10 years. But what about 2 years? Hitachi global storage technologies has announced that they have achieved 2 1/2 times the current commercial recording density in a laboratory demonstration.

What does that mean for you? How about a 1 TB 2 1/2 inch disk?

Multipronged approach To achieve vertical recording density of over 610 Gbit/per square inch the HGST engineers had to improve on existing technology. Current recording density is about 250 GB/per square inch.

In the laboratory demonstration the linear recording density is 1.6 million bits per inch and the track density is 381,000 tracks per inch. The read head has a width of 40 nm, a feature size smaller than Intel's latest CPU process technology.

Notable improvements that HGST made are:

  • Recording head. A finer head makes it possible to create a more tracks onto a disc and more bits per inch.
  • Media enhancements. HGST used a new recording medium called a graded media. graded media varies the size of the magnetic clusters based on their distance from the read/write head. The deeper and larger clusters are less sensitive to thermal instability while the smaller nearer clusters are more easily written. Magnetization travels down to the larger clusters to enhance data stability.
  • New parity codes. Low-density parity codes are slightly more efficient than Reed Solomon codes. They enable the recording density to be increased by about 4%.

The Storage Bits take Kudos to HGST for this demonstration. This technology will likely make its way into disks that you and I buy in 2-3 years.

These enhancements remind us that disk drive R&D continues to eke out significant density from a 50 year old technology.

Disk drives aren't dead yet. Of course, I hate the fact that this makes the 320 GB drive I put in my notebook today seem tiny.

Comments welcome, of course.

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