Monday, September 10, 2007

Discrete Track Recording hard drives

Apple's newest iPods use a 1.8" hard drive with a capacity of 80GB per platter. This results in two different capacities - a single-platter 80GB drive and a slightly-thicker 2-platter 160GB drive.

Not content with that, Toshiba has invented a new hard drive technology, known as Discrete Track Recording (DTR). DTR promises to increase capacity by 50% (when combined with existing perpendicular recording technologies). They have already announced a 1.8" drive with 120GB per platter (and therefore 240GB on a 2-platter drive.) They expect to ship these drives in 2009. Expect Apple to ship iPods with this a week later.

They have not yet announced drives with this technology in other form factors, but we can probably expect to find 50% storage increases across the board - meaning 2.5" laptop drives at 480GB. (They did say that the process "is most easily applied to small form factor HDDs", so we may not find 3.5" drives using this until the process matures, but when it does, it would not be unreasonable to expect a 1.5TB drive.)

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