Print 39 comment(s) - last by AnnihilatorX.. on Sep 22 at 7:45 AM

Seagate plans to triple areal densities within two years

At the IDEMA DISKON show in Santa Clara, California, Seagate demonstrated a magnetic recording device with a whopping 421 Gbits per square inch density.  To put that in perspective, the company recently announced 160GB 5400.3 2.5" perpendicular notebook drives that have an areal density of 135 Gbits per square inch. Toshiba, the current commercial density leaders, recently demonstrated 2.5" hard drives with areal densities of 188 Gbits per square inch.

Seagate CEO Bill Watkins claims "Breakthroughs in areal density are enabling the digital revolution and clearly indicate that hard drives can sustain their advantage to meet the world's insatiable demand for storage across a wide range of market segments."

According to the press release put out by Seagate, the company claims a 1.8" disk drive produced on the same 421 Gbits per square inch technology would result in a 275GB hard drive. 2.5" drives on the density would level out around 500GB, and fully fledged 3.5" hard drives would be able to house a density of 2.5 terabytes.  Perhaps even more exciting is that Seagate "anticipates that solutions at these density levels could begin to emerge in 2009."

The leap to such densities would result in a three-fold increase of current areal densities. However, Seagate isn't alone in this race.  Earlier this year Hitachi put out a press release claiming we would see 1TB holographic drives from the company before the end of the year.  However, both companies use Komag as the primary supplier of their high density platters -- and it should not be a surprise if we see 1TB hard disk drives as well.

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That's great!
By therealnickdanger on 9/15/2006 3:36:27 PM , Rating: 4
Is it 2009 yet?!??!? Given how fast we have climbed to 750GB and how, remarkably, prices for 750GB have fallen a LOT, I would almost expect to see 2.5TB drives much sooner...

Future shopping list:
128GB RAM Drive
320GB Holographic Disk Drive
3x 2.5TB HDDs...

RE: That's great!
By The Cheeba on 9/15/2006 3:38:33 PM , Rating: 3
Probably your holographic drive is a little too small. I think we will have 1TB holo drives by then easily.

RE: That's great!
By JeffDM on 9/15/2006 3:59:51 PM , Rating: 3
For the next few years, holographic discs of the current size and larger are only going to be useful to commercial customers. Actually, I'm not sure they are useful because tape drives and tapes are cheaper and work faster than the holographic drives and discs. The first consumer holographic media is slated to be around 70GB.

I think for the short term, the consumer market is just going to have to deal with CD, DVD or external hard drive enclosures for backups.

RE: That's great!
By Xavian on 9/16/2006 9:07:32 AM , Rating: 3
Thats HVD (Holographic Versatile Disc), we are talking about an actual holographic drive from Hitachi, not discs/media.

Holographic Drives have the potential for much faster data access, read/write speed and generally more performance on the whole. Because the drive no longer has to rely on platter sizes and a certain RPM, Holographic hard drives could come close to flashdrives in speed and have the same space as a regular hard drive.

Cost however... is another matter, im sure as with all new technology, there will be a premium on the new holographic drives.

RE: That's great!
By s12033722 on 9/16/2006 3:51:37 PM , Rating: 3
Given that flash drives are currently far slower than conventional hard drives, I don't see that as much of a bragging point... And yes, I am referring to solid state disk drives, not flash cards. They run at about 25 MB/sec sustained transfer with bursts of 60 MB/sec or so. Conventional hard drives are around 50 MB/sec or so sustained transfer. The only place flash disks surpass conventional disks is in access times, with times in microseconds instead of milliseconds.

RE: That's great!
By AnnihilatorX on 9/22/2006 7:45:55 AM , Rating: 2
You are talking about write speed there. SSD can achieve read speed sustained of >50MB/s speed easily, as seen with USB 2.0 Flash Memory Sticks. The writing speed is somewhere below 30MB/s sustained. Burst speed and sustained speed is also very similar as the transfer rate are stable throughout, unlike HDD where different parts of platter gives different transfer speed due to the circular nature of disc platters.

As you mentioned access time however are literally instantaneous.

RE: That's great!
By tuteja1986 on 9/16/06, Rating: -1
RE: That's great!
By retrospooty on 9/16/2006 10:41:55 AM , Rating: 2
uuuhhhh what are you talking about?

You make it sound like we will have to be stuck on 750gb drives for the next 2 1/2 years and suddenly they will release a 2.5TB drive. It will be incremental. We will have 1tb drives within 6 months, and climbing steady as always to 2.5tb and beyond.

RE: That's great!
By s12033722 on 9/16/2006 3:58:17 PM , Rating: 3
The earlier poster pointed out your seeming incomprehension of the fact that there will be gradual improvement until 2009, but on top of that fact...

Do you realize we are talking about a 3x improvement in 3 years? Do you expect CPUs or memory to triple in speed in that timeframe? I certainly don't. Video might, since they have been on a pretty impressive ramp since time immemorial, but most technology can't even come close to that rate of progress.

Think before you speak.

RE: That's great!
By Rookierookie on 9/18/2006 10:45:54 AM , Rating: 2
Do you realize we are talking about a 3x improvement in 3 years? Do you expect CPUs or memory to triple in speed in that timeframe?

3 years ago, the top CPUs were P4EE 3.2GHz/A64 FX-51s.
Today, the top CPUs are 2.93GHz Core 2 Duos.
I would say that sounds like a triple to me.

RE: That's great!
By Rookierookie on 9/18/2006 10:46:12 AM , Rating: 2
Do you realize we are talking about a 3x improvement in 3 years? Do you expect CPUs or memory to triple in speed in that timeframe?

3 years ago, the top CPUs were P4EE 3.2GHz/A64 FX-51s.
Today, the top CPUs are 2.93GHz Core 2 Duos.
I would say that sounds like a triple to me.

RE: That's great!
By lewisc on 9/19/2006 4:38:17 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm yeah, well according to Moore's Law, with CPU transistor density doubling every 24 months, and if you assume that chip manufacturers are not necessarily just cramming more transistors in, but also making them run more effeciently, a tripling in power isn't wholy unobtainable.

By dice1111 on 9/15/2006 3:38:15 PM , Rating: 5
One drive that can hold my entire "unmentionable genre movie" collection. I didn't think it was possible. No more seaching for DVD back-ups in the glow of my monitor late at night, finally. I mean, how akward is that!

*Mental pictures for everyone! There on me!

RE: Finally
By jmunjr on 9/15/2006 4:58:20 PM , Rating: 5
The saddest part of this post is the fact the guy is openly bragging about it.

RE: Finally
By bigdaniel on 9/15/06, Rating: 0
RE: Finally
By Jedi2155 on 9/17/2006 10:57:16 PM , Rating: 2
Or maybe a collection suited for < 5 year olds LoL.

RE: Finally
By lewisc on 9/19/2006 4:43:37 PM , Rating: 2
...backed up by the misuse of 'there' instead of 'they're' in his post.

RE: Finally
By Byte on 9/16/2006 12:11:26 AM , Rating: 2
How do you calculate the size of the drive from the Gbit/inch? I'm planning to create a RAID5 array, and I really want some 1TB+ drives.

RE: Finally
By Jedi2155 on 9/17/2006 10:55:36 PM , Rating: 2
From simple deduction I think we can figure out that

1 square inch = 52.625 GBytes (421/8)

So with a known size and areal density, we can find the area on the drives - with Area = Size/Areal Density and use the Area for a future reference.

275 GB 1.8" Drives = 5.225 Square Inches
500 GB 2.5" Drives = 9.501 Square Inches
2500 GB 3.5" Drives = 47.506 Square Inches

RE: Finally
By retrospooty on 9/16/2006 9:45:56 AM , Rating: 2
Too bad by 2009, it will probably grow far larger than 2.5 tb LOL

500GB in a 2.5" drive
By Madzombie on 9/16/2006 6:31:19 AM , Rating: 2
I am far more excited about the size increases at the lower end than by the prospects of a 2.5TB desktop drive. I have 80GB in my laptop, which feels very cramped. Even if I upgraded to 160GB, the largest laptop hard drive available at the moment, I'd fill it up quickly with all the stuff on my desktop. If I had that 500GB drive though I could have every file I own on my laptop with space to spare.

RE: 500GB in a 2.5" drive
By B166ER on 9/16/2006 5:36:02 PM , Rating: 2
I gotta ask why youre NIOT using an external storage solution. At 80 gigs, and Im SURE you have it partitioned (right??) youre just not gonna get anywhere. My lappies got a nice 40 gig part for XP, and another 40 for files/movies/music that I like to carry along, and I have a nice 300 gig (90/90/90) f/w external for all my good stuff. It takes forver to defrag 40 gigs, let alone 80. Man I cnat wait till I get my 10 TB RAID NAS. 3 more years.. man 3 more years, YALL BETTA NOT KILL ME FROM YOUR GLOBAL WARMING AND DRUNK DRIVING!

RE: 500GB in a 2.5" drive
By JeffDM on 9/17/2006 12:29:36 AM , Rating: 2
I think partitioning is more trouble than it's worth, especially for a separate data drive. Just the fact that it's a separate drive from the system (boot) drive is often enough separatation. I don't see the point splitting a 300GB data drive into three pieces. I'm more likely to stripe drives. I don't think it takes terribly long to defragment a drive unless it is too full or you've neglected it for a year.

RE: 500GB in a 2.5" drive
By B166ER on 9/17/2006 1:05:21 AM , Rating: 1
Keyword here is "drive too full". Dunno bout you but the whole reason I would want 10 TB of staorage is because Im already seeing limits on my current storage situ, and one can never have too much storage. I have some 60 gigs of music files, and defragging that drive is terrible, I only do it every 3 mo, but that because its takes long enough and Im not too upset if it take a few ms more to access a certain album. Nonetheless, partioning works, and the only trouble it takes is a good three minutes and a fresh drive.

RE: 500GB in a 2.5" drive
By PAPutzback on 9/18/2006 10:20:41 AM , Rating: 2
Unless you are deleting music files and adding them once you defrag reading the file won't move them. Get diskeeper and let it defrag in the background or at scheduled times over night.

RE: 500GB in a 2.5" drive
By doctor sam adams on 9/17/2006 11:45:11 AM , Rating: 3
If I had that 500GB drive though I could have every file I own on my laptop with space to spare.

All your files are belong to teh RIAA.

By maevinj on 9/15/2006 5:49:12 PM , Rating: 2
It's great they can/will make these huge drives, but what about the access speeds? I mean it'd be great to have all that storage but if it takes to long to access it then what's the point?

RE: speed?
By ydgmdlu on 9/15/2006 6:29:07 PM , Rating: 2
You don't get that the greater the capacity, the faster the drive? Greater areal density allows for the drive head to travel less to read the data. This is why if you compare the 750 GB and 500 GB drives to the 250 GB and 200 GB drives, there's a noticeable speed difference that's not due to more RPMs or larger cache. Of course, the speed boost assumes that you keep your monster drive properly partitioned and regularly defragged... or else face an access time nightmare.

RE: speed?
By Motley on 9/16/2006 2:31:20 PM , Rating: 2
Actually throughput is a function of the arial density. Access speed is a function of RPM and how fast the head moves track to track and settle (for hard disks). Access speed while it has improved, it hasn't improved at the rate that arial density/throughput has.

RE: speed?
By patentman on 9/18/2006 8:04:10 AM , Rating: 2
Increases in areal density do not necessarily translate to increases in access times. At higher areal density, intergranual exchange coupling becomes more of a factor (in essence, signal to noise ratio increases as areal density increases), which means that it may take more time for th head to determine the true signal from the surrounding noise.

I really wonder how Seagate has managed to overcome this problem. I used to examine patent applications related to magnetic media, and this was a huge issue from 2000-2003. The solution then was to engineer the recording layer such that non-magentic elements, e.g., Cr, Pt, or Ru segregated into the boundary between magnetic grains, such that each grain was magnetically shielded from the surounding grains. I knew this could increase areal density, but I didn't think it would allow us to get to ~500 Gb/in2

By ajfink on 9/15/2006 4:04:20 PM , Rating: 2
It's really awesome how fast storage technologies (all forms, and new forms) are skyrocketing in their capacities, speeds, and usefulness. It's incredible the amount of density Seagate was able to show off there.

RE: Wow
By imaheadcase on 9/15/2006 11:14:08 PM , Rating: 2
All the amazing storage, and the harddisk is still the slowest part in a computer. I would say its more sad than neat.

RE: Wow
By JeffDM on 9/16/2006 11:31:40 AM , Rating: 2
I really don't see the problem with that because it's also the cheapest storage available to the consumer on a per-gb basis. Until flash or standard RAM gets to less than $0.50/GB, it's not going to be competitive for large storage. By then, the cost of hard drive storage will probably be $0.05/GB.

By holoman on 9/15/2006 8:04:40 PM , Rating: 2
By kuyaglen on 9/18/2006 3:08:14 PM , Rating: 2
10,000,000 Gigs???

By hajj on 9/17/2006 2:42:24 PM , Rating: 2
Im more interested in a 64gb flash drive, give me 1 at raptor prices and im sold. the future is flash for speed and hdd for storage. i reckon 1TB by january.

By abhaxus on 9/16/2006 12:45:43 AM , Rating: 2
true that a substantial amount of my relatively modest 450GB of HD space is taken up with pr0n and mp3 files, but probably 2/3 of my 90gb of MP3s are from CDs I ripped, and for the pr0n, well... a few torrent sites will fill your HDD pretty quick.

The main reason I want a bigger drive is for HDTV recording... I would LOVE to be able to dump my comcast DVR onto my computer to save HD programs, and that simply isnt possible right now unless you blow your money on a raid 5 array populated with 750gb hard drives.

By JDub02 on 9/18/2006 9:09:15 AM , Rating: 2
Start thinking past a home user. This is much more exciting news in terms of business storage. Right now, my company has around 300TB of data and that's growing exponentially every year. The prospect of a 2.5TB drive is fantastic.

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins
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