Hitachi paves the way to larger HDDs

Written by Phil Cogar

October 15, 2007 | 15:05

Tags: #hard-drive #hdd

Companies: #hitachi

A single drive holding 4TB of storage could be in your desktop within a couple of years if Hitachi's new technology holds true. The company has announced a new head-shrinking technology that will enable storage densities to increase beyond the 200Gbits per square inch that is in today's top end HDDs.

Increasing areal density is becoming increasingly problematic but the problem doesn't seem to rely on the the density itself, but rather the ability to read it. Current tunnel magnetoresistance heads may not be reliable for use past the 500Gbit per square inch density mark. By shrinking TMR heads, electrical resistance and noise is generated which may cause reliability and performance issues.

This is where Hitachi's latest head technology comes into play. The company is planning to implement a new technology, called Current Perpendicular-to-the-Plane Giant Magneto-Resistive (CPP-GMR) heads, in order to overcome the issue. CPP-GMR heads use a conductor between two magnetic layers and a perpendicular current instead of an insulator and parallel current like in TMR heads. This allows the heads to be shrunk without succumbing to the electrical resistance problems.

Hitachi plans to implement CPP-GMR heads into HDDs in 2009.

Until the manufacturing cost of solid state HDDs hits a lower point, traditional HDDs will remain a staying point in our everyday lives. Since SSD is a semiconductor technology, the technology simply can't compete with HDDs when it comes to cost-per-bit.

Is that shiny 1TB HDD simply not enough storage space for your needs? For many of you, that seems to be the case. So, can I mark you down for one, two, or three 4TB HDDs? Let many know how many you want over in the forums.
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