Print 42 comment(s) - last by LogicallyGeniu.. on Oct 19 at 3:57 AM

Hitachi develops new hard drive head technology that will increase storage capacity to 4TB by 2011

Hitachi recently announced that it has achieved a breakthrough in hard drive read-head design.

This breakthrough has produced read-heads in the 30-50 nanometer range, approximately 2,000 times smaller than the width of an average human hair. This new technology is called current perpendicular-to-the-plane giant magnetoresistive heads.

Giant magnetoresistance principles won scientists Albert Fert and Peter Grunberg the 2007 Nobel Prize for Physics.

These new heads will allow Hitachi to expand storage capacity in standard 3.5-inch desktop hard drives to 4TB and extend 2.5-inch laptop hard drives to 1TB of capacity. Hitachi says that it plans to integrate these new heads into hard drives starting in 2009 and that the technology will reach maturity in 2011.

The first products to reach market in 2009 will use recording heads of 50nm and products with recording heads of 30nm will hit market in 2011. Hitachi representatives believe the new heads will allow for storage densities of up to 500GB per square inch. The current highest capacity drives from Hitachi can only pack in 200GB per square inch.

Another benefit of the significantly smaller heads is that the hard drives will product less noise. Test products using 50nm heads produced 40dB of sound while the 30nm heads produced 30dB. Large capacity hard drives that produce less noise will be a welcome addition to digital video recorders.

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Nobel Prize winners
By Etsp on 10/16/2007 5:05:28 PM , Rating: 5
At the very least, it's good to see that the Nobel prize is at least sometimes given to appropriate people. Devotion to hard science for the benefit of mankind is a great endeavor.

It's not that I am simply buying into masher's blogs, but the fact is that gore's movie was full of so many half truths and scare tactics that the real statistics in it are overshadowed. It was misleading and it was one of the biggest reasons he won the prize.

I still think that the literary prize should have gone to Steven Colbert.

RE: Nobel Prize winners
By 3kliksphilip on 10/16/07, Rating: 0
RE: Nobel Prize winners
By Polynikes on 10/16/2007 6:53:55 PM , Rating: 3
I think he was saying the Nobel Prize winners' tech being used for something, well, useful shows that they deserved the award, whereas Al Gore's "contribution" hasn't really done anything other than gotten the media further amped up about a possibly non-existent problem. (I'm not trying to stir up debate here, just explaining what I think he was getting at.)

I don't think he accidentally wrote the wrong comment for the wrong article. :)

RE: Nobel Prize winners
By LogicallyGenius on 10/19/2007 3:57:22 AM , Rating: 1
very funny u use the word "possibly"

So u mean we will possibly make life extinct in next 10 years.

What a callous, laid back and brutally irresponsible attitude.

RE: Nobel Prize winners
By AstroCreep on 10/16/2007 7:47:02 PM , Rating: 5
At the very least, it's good to see that the Nobel prize is at least sometimes given to appropriate people. Devotion to hard science for the benefit of mankind is a great endeavor.

Yes, anyone who can allow me to fit more porn in a 3.5" box deserves to be recognized!

RE: Nobel Prize winners
By Griswold on 10/17/2007 3:28:45 AM , Rating: 1
I knew some brainfart would post a comparison of the physics nobel prize and the peace nobel prize based on personal anymosities.

What has me really worrying is that you seem to think that masher is some role model for the conservative right wing. I guess his constant nagging with his blogs finally shows effect .

RE: Nobel Prize winners
By Etsp on 10/17/2007 8:46:59 AM , Rating: 2
I am mostly a democrat... I just don't buy into everything the party feeds me. That sort of thinking leads to sheep mentality.

RE: Nobel Prize winners
By TomZ on 10/17/2007 9:28:18 AM , Rating: 2
Here, I fixed that for you:
I guess his constant nagging with the facts finally shows effect

RE: Nobel Prize winners
By Screwballl on 10/17/2007 10:56:40 AM , Rating: 2
At least some of the Nobel recipients were worthy of the prize, not like another recipient.

Wonder what...
By jskirwin on 10/16/2007 4:52:54 PM , Rating: 3
the data transfer speed will be...

RE: Wonder what...
By Aeros on 10/16/2007 4:58:19 PM , Rating: 1
"the data transfer speed will be..."

My thoughts exactly. They better be pretty impressive to have to move around terabytes of data.

RE: Wonder what...
By Etsp on 10/16/2007 5:12:54 PM , Rating: 5
The following is an extreme oversimplification:
The more data they can pack on to a platter, the faster transfer rates will become. The platters have a fixed rotational speed, and the heads are limited by that. Higher densities means more data can be fit into a track, or basically a "ring" of data on the platter. It takes exactly the same time to read all the data from any track on any hard drive with the same rotational speed, give or take the seek time to get to the track. How much data that track holds determines the sustained read/write speeds.

RE: Wonder what...
By GreenyMP on 10/16/07, Rating: -1
RE: Wonder what...
By Etsp on 10/17/2007 8:43:13 AM , Rating: 1
Let me rephrase: A disk has a fixed Rotational Speed. What that speed is varies from disk to disk, but each disk only spins at one speed.

RE: Wonder what...
By Arribajuan on 10/17/2007 12:10:48 PM , Rating: 2
Oversimplified, but generally true.

Incrementing density will mean more data at the same speed, or more speed.

Its great to see that hard disks keep improving, flash drives are still not for the mainstream.

RE: Wonder what...
By sinful on 10/17/2007 11:35:46 PM , Rating: 2
All true, except you need a caveat:
"However, there is no guarantee that a higher density drive will be able to run at those higher rotational speeds, and thus have a guaranteed higher transfer rate"

It's almost always the case that the highest capacity drives are slower because they're limited to a low RPM (i.e. 4200). Eventually they come up in RPMs (and thus transfer rate), but there is no real rule that says they HAVE to, or even that they will.

Thus, the 'I hope it's fast' statement holds merit - since a 7200 RPM 4TB might be uber fast, but there's no guarantee that the drive will reach 7200RPM. In fact, there's no guarantee it'll even run at 4200RPM - it could debut at 3400 RPM or something even slower (and thus have a lower transfer rate).

Just saying.

RE: Wonder what...
By mindless1 on 10/17/2007 1:48:15 AM , Rating: 3
"they better be"?

Crazy logic.

How about, even if they're the same transfer speed, which will you want, the drive with heads they just developed or that's only 40% of that capacity?

While transfer speed does tend to rise with platter density, there's no "better be" about it.

By Mitch101 on 10/16/2007 5:27:47 PM , Rating: 2
I love the idea of this and with the size I would be able to put everything there but if it dies you lose everything.

I was one of the unfortunate people to have had several IBM Deathstar drives and since Hitachi took that over Im just not ready to go back. Especially since IBM/Hitachi wouldnt warranty a single one of the 3 drives that died on me.

Great to see progress in size but I want reliability more than size.

RE: Reliability
By Xavian on 10/16/2007 5:35:34 PM , Rating: 2
I have had 3 Hitachi 250GB Hard Drives for about 2 years now, not a single failure and i use all 3 quite extensively.

Reliability has come a long way since the deathstars.

RE: Reliability
By Samus on 10/16/2007 9:16:05 PM , Rating: 2
After the 5 or so 75GXP-series drives failed in very short time, I am still concerned about taking IBM/Hitachi seriously in the industry.

RE: Reliability
By seamonkey79 on 10/16/2007 11:34:22 PM , Rating: 3
After the 5 or so 75GXP-series drives failed in very short time, I am still concerned about taking IBM/Hitachi seriously in the industry.

I feel the same way. In fact, I haven't bought an Intel CPU since the Pentium 60 I had couldn't do basic math like division. I just have trouble taking them seriously...

RE: Reliability
By Oregonian2 on 10/17/2007 3:57:24 AM , Rating: 3
Be careful not to read the errata sheet on whatever processor you're using. It does all kinds of things very badly. And it doesn't matter which one you're using or who made it, or when. There's a long list for it.

RE: Reliability
By Chris Peredun on 10/17/2007 12:20:16 PM , Rating: 2
As the old joke goes,

Q: How many Pentium designers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: 1.99904274017, but that's close enough for non-technical people.

RE: Reliability
By euclidean on 10/17/2007 12:04:04 PM , Rating: 2
I'm just happy for a the normal drives should come down in price in the coming years....hopefully lol.

O, and as far as Hitachi goes...Dell uses either Hitachi, Fujitsu, or Toshiba HDDs in their Latitude D series and Precision series laptops...I've had more HItachi drives fail in the last 4 months than any of the other 2 drives. BUT, these have been in 2-3 year old machines that have had their asses beaten on a daily with my thoughts, at least in the Laptop drive market, the reliability is pretty decent :)

By greatfool66 on 10/16/2007 8:21:55 PM , Rating: 2
If I had a MB for every time I heard about a supposedly revolutionary new HD technology... Hard drive makers are always discovering these new technologies but never seem to get ahead of the pack. Why are WD, Samsung, Maxtor, Sprint, and Hitachi drives all roughly equivalent with only minor differences in price and reliability?

RE: why
By GreenyMP on 10/16/2007 8:58:36 PM , Rating: 3
Because they reverse engineer each-others technology and then attempt to "add value" before they ship it. Seagate gives you a high MTBF* and a 5 year warranty. WD gives you a higher rotational speed (raptor) or bigger cache. Hitachi just builds the drives and leaves the selling to 3rd parties like Sun, IBM, or Compaq. And Maxtor gives you crap. Just kidding. I don't know what Maxtor gives you -- but I am sure it is awesome ;)

*Mean Time Before Failure

RE: why
By Radeon117X on 10/16/2007 11:01:05 PM , Rating: 2
Least Seagate owns Maxtor now so they give you the same thing Seagate drives give.

This is awesome though. 4TB on one drive...However, im really looking forward to SSD prices dropping and performance increasing. Im really not liking those several hundred dollar drives that only hold 64GB and are only a bit faster on say bootup than Hard drives. While they are awesome for keeping power consumption in laptops low, and having no moving parts, they are much too expensive!

RE: why
By Oregonian2 on 10/17/2007 4:01:35 AM , Rating: 2
And in some aspects, they use some of the same suppliers for the parts they use (like the platters, the read chips, etc) as well as likely using some of the same equipment to manufacture their drives. I suspect they probably need to cross-license patents from one another as well.

Hi Definition Content
By cambit69 on 10/16/2007 7:29:15 PM , Rating: 2
With each Blu-Ray or HD-DVD movie taking up to 25-30GB of space on my HDD per movie. 4TB in 3 years sounds about right at the consumption pace we're moving now.

RE: Hi Definition Content
By inperfectdarkness on 10/17/2007 9:32:19 AM , Rating: 2
by 2011, sdd will most likely cost around $100 for 500gb. the speed will remain unparalelled by anything else out there. i'll stick to holding out for sdd. till then, raid is the way to go.

the REAL question is will lcd monitors keep up with resolution demands. sure, you can play 1080p on your hdtv, but the vast majority of computer monitors can't go above 1280x960ish.

not to mention usb 3.0 is almost here. we are very, very close to a time when an external sdd w/ usb 3.0 spec will be able to run movies AND games in ultra-high resolution. when that happens, INTERNAL hd size will become almost irrevelant. your usb hub will have more TB of storage at your disposal than anything you could cram inside your pc case; and with roughly equivelant performance.

RE: Hi Definition Content
By Etsp on 10/17/2007 10:28:40 AM , Rating: 2
What is eSata then? Chop Suey?

RE: Hi Definition Content
By OrSin on 10/17/2007 2:26:40 PM , Rating: 2
What monitor you using? Even native resolution on 20' and up are higher then that. And with 24' monitors selling the sub $400 range, theer is no reason not to get a good monitor. I have 2 20' monitors and both cost me about $150. I think you are talking about LCD TV, but most TV are 32' and up you really don't need better resolution unless you want to sit within 3 feet. Most large screen TV are viewed from 7-12 feet away and at that distance you can't see anything better 1080P (some people say you can even see better then 720P unless the screen size is over 60')

Instead of
By senbassador on 10/16/2007 11:22:16 PM , Rating: 2
Instead of trying to offer all that space, why not work on getting some RAID system up. Seriously, who needs 4 TB. I rather have a RAID 4 with 1 TB than each than a raid 0 with 4 TB.

I'll even take a 50% performance cut if I have to to get the RAID.

RE: Instead of
By Oregonian2 on 10/17/2007 4:03:05 AM , Rating: 2
Seriously, who needs 4 TB.

Famous last words.... :-)

RE: Instead of
By Ihmemies on 10/17/2007 10:46:50 AM , Rating: 2
I have 4 disks in raid1, totalling 750GB. I'd rather have 2 disks in raid1 with 4TB.

One never can have "too much" space for porn.

But, I thought...
By gradoman on 10/16/2007 5:38:18 PM , Rating: 2
...we were moving on to Solid-State Drives...

Where's the announcement of "dramatic price drop" of SSDs?!

I'm kidding. 4TB - in a single hdd, imagine that..

RE: But, I thought...
By Blight AC on 10/17/2007 9:16:09 AM , Rating: 2
Indeed.. more work on getting SSD's a viable replacement! Rabble rabble rabble!

I'ma be honset
By Nik00117 on 10/16/2007 5:57:00 PM , Rating: 2
Thats a lot of porn space, I was agruing this with some PC buddies after I read the article they were like "you can fill up 4 TBs of stuff that isn't porn"

I was like yup, sure can but how interseting will it be?

me, I intend on sticking at least 1 size down from the biggest or 2 depends. I'm more for cost per gigabyte person. Right now 500 gigers are hitting the 100 USD mark, thats .2 a gig thats what i'm sticking with, lots of space, lots of cost.

I think for my first HDD that I used ina buidl about 6 years ago I paid roughly .4 a gig. I think it was a 120 or something.

RE: I'ma be honset
By Creig on 10/17/2007 7:59:48 AM , Rating: 2
Oh, you youngsters don't know how good you have it today. My first HD was 20 MB , not GB and cost me nearly $500 at the time.

why waste time researching this old technology
By Beavermatic on 10/17/2007 12:58:10 PM , Rating: 2
...when everyone knows that flash-based harddrives are the way to the future? No mechanical parts, faster, smaller...

the only disadvantage is their $19,000 price tag for the current 640GB PCI-X flash-mem harddrive.

I mean, why not quit wasting time making older technology like platter/pin magnetic drives larger when you could spend those funds on reaseraching flash-based equipment that can easily be far larger, and mass producing it in the competitive industry to get to prices were everyone will eventually afford them?

By mindless1 on 10/17/2007 9:27:31 PM , Rating: 2
It's not as thought nobody's doing flash research. How about if we develop all tech and let the market decide which is to be abandoned and when?

SSD prices will always have a price floor above that of the flash chips in them (barring some kind of chip dumping), and will take several years longer to reach a desirable capacity:price ratio for the largest segment of PC purchases - the low end.

Misleading Noise Factor
By mindless1 on 10/17/2007 1:55:56 AM , Rating: 2
The acticle seems to suggest noise emissions are reduced by the change in head size. I blinked a couple times on that one as it wouldn't make any difference by itself.

What the new head tech does, is decrease noise in the head reading SNR, it's part of why they can achieve higher density. It will not make your hard drive quieter.

On a separate note, I hope they find a way to make correspondant improvements to bearings in these drives, else it seems all the more likely that increasing density this much will make bearing wear all the more problematic over time - and past a certain point I'd rather an increase in longevity than capacity.

"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes

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