When it comes to computer
technology, hard drives have advanced the slowest over the years are far as
speed is concerned. We've seen dramatic increases in processing speed and
graphics power, but HDDs have long been the bottleneck in modern systems.
Many are looking to solid state disks
(SSDs) to give a boost in speed. In addition, SSDs have the advantage of
lighter weight, more efficient packaging, silent operation, durability and
The major drawback, however, is
pricing. Current 1.8" SSDs are roughly five times as expensive
as their 1.8" HDD counterparts. Analysts expect the difference to only
drop to three times as expensive by 2010.
With this in mind, researchers are
looking to other alternatives to traditional HDD technology. Researchers at
Radboud University Nijmegen are using
lasers to write data to HDDs. Each laser pulse is capable of heating up a
portion of the magnetic disk (made up of cobalt, gadolinium and iron) to change
its polarity. By doing this, 1's and 0's can be recorded at rapid speeds.
claim that the use of lasers makes the drive 100 times faster than conventional
is one of the most exciting stories in magnetics," remarked Julius
Hohlfeld of Seagate Research. While current laboratory experiments have been
successful, a working prototype isn't expected for another 5+ years.