New hard drive platters could lead to big jump in storage space

Earlier this month, word got out that a new technique for making PC hard drives could allow those drives to contain double the amount of data storage compared to the current generation of these products. But now another research team has created a new way to make a hard drive platter that, if successful, could allow those platters to increase their storage capacity up to six times the amount allowed by current technology.

How would this be done? First we need to know how current platters in hard drives are made. As reported by Wired.com, at the moment platters are covered in nanoscopic grains that are randomly distributed. These grains store data in disorganized clumps and hold about 500 GB of data per square inch. Now a team based in Singapore's Institute of Materials Research and Engineering has revealed a new way to make those platters work more efficiently.

Their idea was to make the grains in the platters slightly larger and to place them in regular patters. This process is helped by adding sodium chloride to the mix. Yes, regular salt like you would put on your food could be used to help make better hard drives. As a spokesperson for the institute said, "It's like packing your clothes in your suitcase when you travel. The neater you pack them the more you can carry."

The team feels that with this new method they could create hard drive platters that could store many times times the amount of data that is possible at the moment. So that fancy new 2 TB hard drive you just bought for your PC gaming rig could in fact store up to 12 TB of data under this new technique. There's no word on when or even if this will be included on future hard drives.

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Hard drives are extremely reliable if you make it so. I have a 8.4 GB HDD that came with my first computer that I bought in 2000 and it still works fine today! Yes there are some failures ones but it is no difference to a broken TV.

Good to see the increased data storage size. I'm on a ADSL2+ 200GB per month data plan so I can't always rely on cloud computing. Besides on-location data is always instant and always available to me

The cloud is cool in it's ways, to sync your mobile life with your computer or sync files between locations... Otherwise, would you hold your million dollar business plan in your hands or would you give it to a company who provides the service of holding files. Even if you happened to use the cloud, logically you'd have a copy on your hard drive too just in case the service provider screwed up... but what if one of their several employee's snagged your potential earnings for himself. Too many scenarios really, but in my case I require to have my business and personal drives in my possession, with a backup or two that I can also physically hold in my hands... what if fire or theft, etc., well thats my responsibility to prevent against, not another person or company. People who value their information and work, won't use the cloud primarily.. So is it really the future of storage or more of the future of syncing devices and pc's for mobility and ease of access.. (like the iPhone, iPad, PC sync I have with iCloud for calendar's and contacts.) Just my opinion but I wouldn't trust an invisible storage center with my personal things like many of you have said.. some may disagree and many may agree, the cloud is not going to take over PC storage capabilities totally like what's implied in "the future of storage"...

Instead of trying to increase data storage, they should either; make cheap ssd's so that you don't need to rely on mechanical drives or make hard drives far more reliable so they will last at least 5 years before failure and equip them with tiny removable cooling fans which can be replaced as needed.

Interesting. Could mean 12TB desktop HDDs (maybe even 18TB), or even 2TB or 3TB HDDs in laptops!

But like warwagon said, the time and money would probably be better spent on perfecting SSDs now. HDDs are sadly past it now (and I've got just two 1TB HDDs in my system). Three or four years, this would have been brilliant, but not now.

I'm waiting for the next big thing; inexpensive high-capacity SSDs. And by "inexpensive", I mean no more than 25p per GB. Just for comparison's sake, the latest HDD I bought was a 1TB WD Caviar Black for £40; that works out at 3.9p per GB, so a 1TB SSD costing no more than 25 per GB would be £256.

Surprisingly, that's not a long way away. Take a look at this: http://www.aria.co.uk/Products...Hard+Drive+?productId=46158 - Yes, it is a hybrid drive, but the read and write stats (plus the number of IOPS) far exceed any SSDs out at the moment. And it costs a lot less per GB than current SSDs; this is 37p per GB at the moment, so not far off my ideal price point.

MightyJordan said,
Interesting. Could mean 12TB desktop HDDs (maybe even 18TB), or even 2TB or 3TB HDDs in laptops!

But like warwagon said, the time and money would probably be better spent on perfecting SSDs now. HDDs are sadly past it now (and I've got just two 1TB HDDs in my system). Three or four years, this would have been brilliant, but not now.

I'm waiting for the next big thing; inexpensive high-capacity SSDs. And by "inexpensive", I mean no more than 25p per GB. Just for comparison's sake, the latest HDD I bought was a 1TB WD Caviar Black for £40; that works out at 3.9p per GB, so a 1TB SSD costing no more than 25 per GB would be £256.

Surprisingly, that's not a long way away. Take a look at this: http://www.aria.co.uk/Products...Hard+Drive+?productId=46158 - Yes, it is a hybrid drive, but the read and write stats (plus the number of IOPS) far exceed any SSDs out at the moment. And it costs a lot less per GB than current SSDs; this is 37p per GB at the moment, so not far off my ideal price point.

HDD's are not in the past, cost per byte will be lower then SSD's for a very long time yet, you wont see 2-6TB SSD drives for a long time at a price point of HDD's... storage arrays will use HDD's until they can get that down and be able to work perfectly in very large arrays with no hitches like HDD's do now

neufuse said,

HDD's are not in the past, cost per byte will be lower then SSD's for a very long time yet, you wont see 2-6TB SSD drives for a long time at a price point of HDD's... storage arrays will use HDD's until they can get that down and be able to work perfectly in very large arrays with no hitches like HDD's do now


This.
I'm still planning to purchase around 4x3 or 4TB drives sometime around next year...

@MightyJordan:
SandForce, really?
Wow, you like poker and roulette, right?

GS:mac

MightyJordan said,
Interesting. Could mean 12TB desktop HDDs (maybe even 18TB), or even 2TB or 3TB HDDs in laptops!

But like warwagon said, the time and money would probably be better spent on perfecting SSDs now. HDDs are sadly past it now (and I've got just two 1TB HDDs in my system). Three or four years, this would have been brilliant, but not now.

I'm waiting for the next big thing; inexpensive high-capacity SSDs. And by "inexpensive", I mean no more than 25p per GB. Just for comparison's sake, the latest HDD I bought was a 1TB WD Caviar Black for £40; that works out at 3.9p per GB, so a 1TB SSD costing no more than 25 per GB would be £256.

Surprisingly, that's not a long way away. Take a look at this: http://www.aria.co.uk/Products...Hard+Drive+?productId=46158 - Yes, it is a hybrid drive, but the read and write stats (plus the number of IOPS) far exceed any SSDs out at the moment. And it costs a lot less per GB than current SSDs; this is 37p per GB at the moment, so not far off my ideal price point.

Ah but to the contrary. If HDD capacity can grow as fast as claimed in such a short period of time we will have drives that far exceed our storage needs.

With very high density platters that aren't overly full < 20% we could see traditional HDDs closing the gap with SSDs. When combined into Hybrid Drives the joy of SSDs might die out altogether.

Frazell Thomas said,

Ah but to the contrary. If HDD capacity can grow as fast as claimed in such a short period of time we will have drives that far exceed our storage needs.

With very high density platters that aren't overly full < 20% we could see traditional HDDs closing the gap with SSDs. When combined into Hybrid Drives the joy of SSDs might die out altogether.

I think Bill Gates' words fit best here, when he was asked about a false quote (it's about RAM, but IMHO the same theory applies to permanent storage just as well):

"QUESTION: I read in a newspaper that in 1981 you said, ``640K of memory should
be enough for anybody.'' What did you mean when you said this?
ANSWER: I've said some stupid things and some wrong things, but not that. No
one involved in computers would ever say that a certain amount of memory is
enough for all time. "

Excerpted from: CAREER OPPORTUNITIES IN COMPUTING -- AND MORE (1/19)
<http://nytsyn.com/live/Gates/019_011996_094929_4351.html>;
By BILL GATES
c.1996 Bloomberg Business News

I could see myself finding many good uses for that amount of space, really.

GS:mac

Glassed Silver said,

I think Bill Gates' words fit best here, when he was asked about a false quote (it's about RAM, but IMHO the same theory applies to permanent storage just as well):

"QUESTION: I read in a newspaper that in 1981 you said, ``640K of memory should
be enough for anybody.'' What did you mean when you said this?
ANSWER: I've said some stupid things and some wrong things, but not that. No
one involved in computers would ever say that a certain amount of memory is
enough for all time. "

Excerpted from: CAREER OPPORTUNITIES IN COMPUTING -- AND MORE (1/19)
<http://nytsyn.com/live/Gates/019_011996_094929_4351.html>;
By BILL GATES
c.1996 Bloomberg Business News

I could see myself finding many good uses for that amount of space, really.

GS:mac

Yea I wasn't implying that we won't find every increasing uses for more storage space. I was implying that if the space grows at a rate faster than we can find ways to utilize it (like going from 3TB to 6 or 6TB drives in a year) then we'll get some enormous speed improvements from the density and "short stroking" (as all of our data would be on the fastest part of the disk).

Glassed Silver said,

SandForce, really?
Wow, you like poker and roulette, right?

GS:mac


Please explain, because I have no idea what you're on about.

Darkness2k said,
I'm presuming it's likely to be his/her bad experiences with Sandforce based SSDs.

Nope, not personal experience on any of my systems, but boy, they really are bad runners in stats and some people I talked to that owned them say, that they wouldn't trust those models anymore feeling supported by statistics.

@Frazell: Oh yea, well, that's true.
My main problem with HDDs I have is their sucking at random access.
No overly huge help there...

GS:mac

tytytucke said,
who needs large cap hard drives? cloud storage is the future.,

LMAO Not with today's net speed and data caps pal!! lol

tytytucke said,
who needs large cap hard drives? cloud storage is the future.,
And cloud storage just magically holds files? No, it uses hard drives.

i'd rather have my physical hd die on me (which can still be recovered by various means) rather than permanently loose all my stuff to the cloud like what happened to amazon's cloud crash of april this year..

tytytucke said,
who needs large cap hard drives? cloud storage is the future.,

Where's the Cloud Storage then? In the cloud? No.
A central server powered by HARD DRIVES.

tytytucke said,
who needs large cap hard drives? cloud storage is the future.,

maybe the people that run the "cloud servers" might? just maybe?

tytytucke said,
who needs large cap hard drives? cloud storage is the future.,

What a good place to store business crucial files at...
ONLY there...
And fully trust the operator... Surely we don't mind putting our nude girlfriends and boyfriends on there too, right?

/back to reality

NO, thank you.
Cloud = complimenting storage.
Cloud =! single storage. >_<

@IntelliMoo:
You got it right!

GS:mac

tytytucke said,
who needs large cap hard drives? cloud storage is the future.,

Not everybody likes this "Cloud" frenziness, and for several good reasons I would add.
Besides many companies are forbidden by law to store data in the cloud.

warwagon said,
Screw this. Throw more money at creating really large inexpensive ssd drives.

Never. Unless SSDs endure very nice constant prolonged rewrites.

warwagon said,
Screw this. Throw more money at creating really large inexpensive ssd drives.

There isn't one single industry that works one one thing or another. There's obviously a ton of different parts of industries working on different things. You already have money being thrown into SSD's.

Arceles said,

Never. Unless SSDs endure very nice constant prolonged rewrites.

The whole SSD rewrite thing is so overblown - under constant rewrites, they still should last longer than 5 years before problems occur according to testing.