How Seagate's Terabit-Per-Square-Inch Hard Drive Works
BY PRACHI PATEL
Magnetic hard disks will soon be able to store one terabit (a trillion bits) per square inch. Seagate has demonstrated that landmark storage density using a new magnetic recording method that can cram 10 terabits, and perhaps even more, onto every inch of a standard 3.5-inch disk. Disks made with current technology can hold about 3 terabytes.
The technology, called heat-assisted magnetic recording, involves heating the magnetic regions on a disk that hold individual data bits, allowing those regions to be made tinier. Seagate says the method promises to keep increasing storage density, and it could lead to 60-terabyte hard drives.
"One of the most exciting things about heat-assisted magnetic recording is that it's in its infancy," says Ed Gage, principal technologist of heads and media R&D at Seagate. The company is targeting 2015 for its first commercial product featuring the technology.
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