Want a whopping 170GB notebook drive?

Fujitsu has developed new hard drive technology that may help to stem the expected slowdown in the rate of growth for hard drive capacity.

Manufacturers have been able to double the capacity of hard drives over the past 4 to 5 years. But as the gigabytes stack up, analysts and industry insiders are expecting the overall growth rate to slow as technological limitations take hold. To prevent this, hard drive makers are working to test the boundaries of storage capacity. Fujitsu's hardware, the company says, incorporates "sensitive" technology that can read more data off hard drive platters inside the drive where data is stored.

The technology, called "current perpendicular to plane," improves on the current giant magneto resistive head technology. When the new hardware is combined with the platter, or media, advancements that Fujitsu announced last August, hard drive density is expected to reach 300 gigabits per square inch, according to the company.

This would translate to about 170GB of capacity on hard drives with 2.5-inch platters--commonly used in notebook PCs. Current hard drives have a density of about 49 gigabits per square inch, or 30GB per platter.

The rate of innovation has taken its toll on hard drive manufacturers, resulting in thin profit margins and in some cases, forcing companies to leave certain markets. Last year Fujitsu left the 3.5-inch, or desktop, hard drive business to focus on the more profitable and faster growing 2.5-inch, or notebook, hard drive business.

News source: ZDNet

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