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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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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.

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