Toshiba announced last week that they are producing a 1.8" hard drive using perpendicular recording to allow hard drive storage capabilities to 40 GB on a single platter. These types of drives are found in small hand-held devices such as Apple's iPod MP3 player. Computers typically use 2.5" hard drives.

These drives are special because they feature perpendicular recording technology. Typically, data is stored on a hard drive in using small magnetic charges on a metal disk that record the data. These charges are typically stored in a horizontal pattern along the disk. To compare, if you were building a house, this house would be a single story, ranch house design.

Toshiba's technology differs using techniques to store data perpendicular to the disk, or "vertically". To compare, think of this as a 2 story home, or a 3 story apartment building. Magnetic charges, representing the data, are stacked vertically.

This is a very interesting concept, something that I am having trouble visualizing in my mind on how it would work. It certainly makes sense -- having the data stored above the disk greatly increases the data density, and the capabilities of the drive. I am curious on how the heads read and write the data, and if the drives will still be able to hold their data in the event of a physical shock, such as dropping it. The equivalent of a cyber-earthquake, if you extend my analogy above.


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Computers use 3.5" hard drives.

This is kind of interesting, however...


Desktop computers typically use 3.5" hard drives. Less cost, and the cases usually have the room to spare.


This sounds like an interesting technology. On the surface (I haven't read anything about this but your post), it seems simlar to dual layer DVD technology, except with magnetic charges. This should at least double data density.

I wonder if they will apply this technology to the 3.5" drives used in desktops. I don't see why they couldn't, and this would significantly increase drive capacity. As someone with 4 harddrives totaling over 500gb of space I would appreciate this.

I do wonder when magnetic drives will hit a wall for data density. It is physically impossible for it to go on forever. Drive capacity has historically increased at an incredible rate, and there is no real sign that it is slowing.

Sorry to shatter your image of perpendicular recording, but the bits are NOT stacked vertically as in multi-layer optical technlogy. The apartment building analogy is not a good one. If you think of the bits on a disk drive as tiny bar magnets, traditional (or longitudinal) recording has those bits lying on the disk surface. Perpendicular recording has those bits standing up, like little soldiers. Gains in recording density, and thus capacity of your hard drive, come from a variety of magnetic recording physics reasons about how the system can be designed using these bits.

Physical limits are out there for magnetic recording. as they always have been, but engineering has traditionally found a way to design around these limits. You may, however, see some slowing in the density growth rate in the coming years.

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