Seagate releases perpendicular storage drives

Aiming to prove its credentials in the emerging field of perpendicular storage, Seagate rolls out 3.5-inch drives.
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor

Seagate has announced its first 3.5-inch disk drives using perpendicular storage technology, which it hopes will break through the storage limitations that are beginning to impact hard-drive technology.

The three new drives join Seagate's existing Cheetah line of disks, which are among the fastest in the industry for data transfer rates.

With a transfer rate of 73mbps to 125mbps, the Cheetah 15K.5 transfers data about 30 percent faster than the Cheetah 15K.4, which does not use perpendicular technology.

The Cheetah 15K.5 will be available in three models, each offering a different storage capacity: a 300GB model with four platters; a 147GB model with two platters and a 73GB model with a single platter.

Seagate has been working for some time on perpendicular technology as a way of getting more capacity in a smaller space. Most hard-disk storage technologies will store data in a longitudinal fashion on the disk.

In these circumstances, the capacity of the disk is limited by how close together the bits can be, and most manufacturers (such as Seagate and IBM) have been warning for some time that the laws of physics dictate that disk drives cannot pack linear bits more closely together.

Perpendicular technology arranges the bits so that they are perpendicular to the plane of the disk--the pluses and minuses are arranged with a plus or minus on top and its opposite below, instead of across the plane of the disk.

The result is that the bits are stacked more closely together, increasing density and allowing them to be accessed more quickly.

Seagate already claims to be the leader in the "perpendicular revolution" with its Momentus 2.5-inch drives, which began shipping to resellers last month. Momentus drives have a range of spin speeds, from 4,200 revolutions per minute to 7,200rpm, and capacities from 30GB to 160GB. Seagate also launched a 1-inch drive using perpendicular technology at the 3GSM World Congress wireless showcase in February.

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