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Hitachi Aims for 10TB Drives With Laser Heat

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February 3, 2010 10:23:04 PM

To heat it? Interesting. What would this do for Storage / Watt I wonder? Are hard drives becoming the "Tape Drives" of the past?

Interesting indeed....
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8
February 3, 2010 10:56:14 PM

Heat Kills almost everything, hard to believe that it won't damage data after multiple writes to the
drive. I'm not going down that road, SSD are the future and that's the road i'm traveling. I'm just
saying!

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February 3, 2010 11:00:09 PM

Awesome... more room for pirated movies, software and... porn
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February 3, 2010 11:02:35 PM

Now this is scary for those who working in data recovery and even modern drives are pain enough to salvage as it is but this takes that to a new level.
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February 3, 2010 11:12:59 PM

You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have hard drives with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads!



hahahaha. austin powers.
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February 3, 2010 11:14:40 PM

Step 1: Get Hard-drives
Step 2: Attach lasers to Hard-drives
Step 3:--------
Step 4: Profit

Sounds like a plan to me...
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February 3, 2010 11:18:27 PM

Madgoat the beam is going to be 20nm to hit up a very small area. You probably will not notice an increased power draw, think about it man.

Hakesterman, you need to realize they are manufacturing it to work with heat, again just think about it.
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February 3, 2010 11:20:31 PM

I'm happy that technology is advancing but I don't like how it will leave a huge dent in our wallet :( (
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February 3, 2010 11:30:18 PM

Lasers are the future! Erm... Or is it the past?
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February 3, 2010 11:42:25 PM

derek2006Madgoat the beam is going to be 20nm to hit up a very small area. You probably will not notice an increased power draw, think about it man. Hakesterman, you need to realize they are manufacturing it to work with heat, again just think about it.


... 20nm is essentially the color of the beam. It has nothing to do with power consumption at all. It means it's blue, nearly ultraviolet. The power comes in terms of wattage. A pen laser is typically rated at 5mw, that's a decently bright beam, but not at all hot. If you increase it to 50nm, it can hurt within a few inches. 100mw, and it'll light stuff on fire, given enough time. To heat the disk at 10,000 rpm, it'll have to be very powerful, depending on how hot it needs to get. I'm thinking in the 250mw to 400mw range, though I'm no expert. Maybe it'll heat it up through several rounds of spin or something... I dunno. Either way, that's a significant draw on a battery. You get a good 10-20 minutes out of two AA batteries with the 5 mw lasers... do the math if you care to.
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February 4, 2010 12:01:35 AM

It is still a very small area to heat up
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Anonymous
February 4, 2010 12:02:08 AM

The shortest visible wavelenght is 380nm. 20nm is very much shorter than that. Is has to be that short to enable focusing the beam in a very small point.
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February 4, 2010 12:03:30 AM

I'm seeing high rates of failure.
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February 4, 2010 12:07:10 AM

groveborn,

I would imagine that the amount of heat needed will be very very small, given the size of the heated area. Further, I doubt it will need to get anything near phase change, probably just enough to make the area vibrate or warp very slightly. With your examples you are heating things that are relatively very large. The lasers in question here will be heating things that are utterly microscopic, thus reducing the required power significantly, possibly into the micro- or nanowatt range.
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Anonymous
February 4, 2010 12:08:40 AM

4 of those in RAID =40 TB enough to run windows 8 within a few years lol
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February 4, 2010 12:39:25 AM

I just got a hard on bigger than the Dubai towers.
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February 4, 2010 12:43:49 AM

I think Tom's already made an article about future hard disk drive technology. You should link it, Marcus.
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February 4, 2010 12:49:19 AM

I agree with the link. I have been interested to see where and when the hard drive market picks up again and starts taking TB upgrades. Last article I read mentioned something about 3-4TB this year early next.
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February 4, 2010 12:52:35 AM

WOW i can't wait for this!
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Anonymous
February 4, 2010 1:17:18 AM

Sound like the magneto optical technology used in UMDs
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February 4, 2010 1:28:11 AM

they heat the plates to expand surface area im guessing?
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February 4, 2010 1:28:21 AM

I'm thinking back to such lackluster laser-based technologies as LS-120 floppy drives, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray (yeah, they're faster than DVD or CD but not nearly fast enough to be used as a hard drive). I can't imagine this process would be fast enough to simultaneously outpace SSDs for capacity and maintain the high performance expected of a hard drive. SSDs with half or quarter the capacity might start to tip the scales due to significantly faster seeks and dropping prices.
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February 4, 2010 1:45:47 AM

groveborn... 20nm is essentially the color of the beam. It has nothing to do with power consumption at all. It means it's blue, nearly ultraviolet. The power comes in terms of wattage. A pen laser is typically rated at 5mw, that's a decently bright beam, but not at all hot. If you increase it to 50nm, it can hurt within a few inches. 100mw, and it'll light stuff on fire, given enough time. To heat the disk at 10,000 rpm, it'll have to be very powerful, depending on how hot it needs to get. I'm thinking in the 250mw to 400mw range, though I'm no expert. Maybe it'll heat it up through several rounds of spin or something... I dunno. Either way, that's a significant draw on a battery. You get a good 10-20 minutes out of two AA batteries with the 5 mw lasers... do the math if you care to.


true, the laser is only meant to warp a microscopic section of metal. the power consumed is small. even writing huge files to the disk will only heat a thin ribbon for a moment, that is until the disk rotates one or two cycles and the ambient air cools it down once again.

groveborn... 20nm is essentially the color of the beam. It has nothing to do with power consumption at all.


20nm is essentially the wave length of the beam. the color is just what our retinas' detect at that wave length. the amount of energy it would take to heat something so small is negligable compared to the heat given off by such things as the disk motor ect.


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February 4, 2010 2:00:34 AM

Heating allows materials to be more easily magnetized. The heads on disk drives today can read bits that are much smaller than can be created currently. By heating a very small area, the write head uses a fraction of the energy to write a bit. Only the area heated picks up the magnetizing field, not the entire area exposed to field in today's drives. The laser controls the areal density, not the size of recording head.
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February 4, 2010 2:20:14 AM

whoaa!!
more laser cannons in our desktop! Can we just hack those drives and then build a light laser cannon to put on our Mech??
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February 4, 2010 2:54:09 AM

Such a small laser cannot carry that much energy (even if it is concentrated into such a small surface area) the heat produced would be dissipated almost instantly and with the hard drive spinning it would be near impossible to amount enough heat in one spot to cause the platter to be damaged.

Also h2o_skiman high temperatures do not always benefits magnets. It depends on several factors. What material is being used for the magnet, and the way the material is magnetized. I am very well aware that heating a magnet to very high temperatures would cause a magnet to loose it's pull.
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February 4, 2010 2:55:10 AM

"The addition of lasers tends to improve almost anything, and this is no exception" - True in so many ways
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February 4, 2010 3:08:55 AM

yang, hehe. You're absolutely right. Although I could swear I saw a little Seagate pamphlet depicting the same idea, lasers are a great idea for hard drives. The only possible problems are the actual warming up of the laser, the power consumption, and focusing the laser onto the tiniest sectors on the hard drive. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for 10TB HDDs :) , but there might be a few problems to take care of...
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February 4, 2010 3:16:13 AM

Hitachi should first worry about fixing the issue with its current 2TB model, the HDS722020ALA, which I just purchased, which makes the drive produce more noise while accessing data randomly that my 3 case fans plus CPU fan plus video card fan plus my other 3 HD's TOGETHER. What's worse, Hitachi simply removed the option to alter the AAM (Automatic Acoustic Management) parameters from their Feature Tool utility since its version 2.13.

If anybody else was unfortunate enough to purchase this drive, here's the solution: get the freeware utility WinAAM (http://withopf.com/tools/aam) or the more sophisticated HD Tune (not freeware), boot the system with the HD set to IDE mode in the BIOS (AAM can't be altered in SATA/AHCI/RAID mode) and set the AAM value to 128. There will be NO noticeable penalty (I did A LOT of testing with HD Tach) and the absurd noise will disappear.

I tried contacting Hitachi's support about this but they didn't even care to answer. This will be my first and last Hitachi hard drive EVER.
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February 4, 2010 3:48:01 AM

Has anyone else thought to look up where in the spectrum 20nm is? It's 10nm short of x-rays. I think that just may be a typo. Even 200nm is deep UV. Lasers at that wavelength, at that size, don't exist yet, to my knowledge. If they really mean 20nm, that's the biggest tech hurdle I can see with this. Anyone care to comment on that part? I'm more than welcome to being shown wrong.
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February 4, 2010 3:52:27 AM

And to clarify, I'm referring to semi-conductor lasers here, not some DOD project . . .
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February 4, 2010 3:55:10 AM

Wow, that's interesting...can't wait to see it in mainstream...
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February 4, 2010 5:21:00 AM

This configuration will most likely make the heads heavier. I wonder how this will affect the read/write speed of the drives and if the added mass will make the drives more prone to head crashes.
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February 4, 2010 7:46:38 AM

Quote:
The addition of lasers tends to improve almost anything


I lol'd at this one!
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February 4, 2010 8:08:59 AM

I read about this tech years ago in Scientific American. The heat from the laser magnetically "softens" the platter, allowing lower polarizing current to be used. Lower current means a weaker field, and a weaker field is a smaller field. The reading process is completely unchanged from current perpendicular magnetic disk technology. I suppose there could be an issue in very long-term reliability, due to millions of heat-cycles, but I doubt it would be any kind of real-world problem.
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February 4, 2010 8:52:25 AM

groveborn... 20nm is essentially the color of the beam. It has nothing to do with power consumption at all. It means it's blue, nearly ultraviolet. The power comes in terms of wattage. A pen laser is typically rated at 5mw, that's a decently bright beam, but not at all hot. If you increase it to 50nm, it can hurt within a few inches. 100mw, and it'll light stuff on fire, given enough time. To heat the disk at 10,000 rpm, it'll have to be very powerful, depending on how hot it needs to get. I'm thinking in the 250mw to 400mw range, though I'm no expert. Maybe it'll heat it up through several rounds of spin or something... I dunno. Either way, that's a significant draw on a battery. You get a good 10-20 minutes out of two AA batteries with the 5 mw lasers... do the math if you care to.


Even if this worst case scenario is true (400mW) it's still pretty small compared to total powerdraw of the drive.
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February 4, 2010 11:44:06 AM

"The addition of lasers tends to improve almost anything, and this is no exception."

Quote of the day.... week... maybe even year.
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February 4, 2010 11:59:36 AM

freiheitnerI'm thinking back to such lackluster laser-based technologies as LS-120 floppy drives, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray (yeah, they're faster than DVD or CD but not nearly fast enough to be used as a hard drive). I can't imagine this process would be fast enough to simultaneously outpace SSDs for capacity and maintain the high performance expected of a hard drive. SSDs with half or quarter the capacity might start to tip the scales due to significantly faster seeks and dropping prices.


LS-120 wasn't laser-based, it was magnetic.

I agree with the rise of SSD technology. Just like anything in this industry, it will become more affordable. However the tipping point between magnetic and solid-state storage is YEARS away. I think we'll see a significant increase in SSD use as boot drives, but for mass storage, magnetic media is king.
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February 4, 2010 12:42:43 PM

"Hitachi may have the solution to that with a method that involves lasers. The addition of lasers tends to improve almost anything, and this is no exception."

hahaha
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February 4, 2010 1:19:31 PM

I'm looking forward to the time that our systems will have to be constantly submerged in ice water just to turn them on. The youtube videos will be fun to watch of people turning their pc's on and bursting into flames within seconds!
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February 4, 2010 3:31:45 PM

"Lasers are indeed wonderful and versatile things - they can obliterate a bulldozer or perform delicate eye surgery... if one remembers to change the setting from 'bulldozer' to 'eyeball'"
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February 4, 2010 3:46:10 PM

I wonder how this will affect longevity of these HDDs? Will there be E-class drives meant for continuous use that can take advantage of this technology?
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February 4, 2010 3:50:37 PM

"Are they ill-tempered?"
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February 4, 2010 3:56:21 PM

It makes me wonder how much heavier this would make the read/write head. Could there be long term damage from a head twice as heavy for instance? Would stiction become more prevalent?
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February 4, 2010 3:58:39 PM

crbriandI'm looking forward to the time that our systems will have to be constantly submerged in ice water just to turn them on. The youtube videos will be fun to watch of people turning their pc's on and bursting into flames within seconds!


That is the other thing. How much warmer with the hard drive get from a laser constantly battering it.
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February 4, 2010 4:03:19 PM

cheepstuff...even writing huge files to the disk will only heat a thin ribbon for a moment, that is until the disk rotates one or two cycles and the ambient air cools it down once again

"Ambient air" in a vacuum? I thought HDD's internals were in a vacuum? That aside... I don't think the heat increase nor power draw will be anything significant. It's not melting ODD media, it won't likely 'melt' metal surfaces.

Also, (without reading the linked reference) this sounds a lot like phase change media...

For all the people that are "SSD happy", I might be wrong, but I don't think the judgement is out yet on the real life MTBF of SSD's due to the on-off cycling of power to the chips, which if I recall reading, significantly hits 'em on the MTBF numbers.
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February 4, 2010 4:05:48 PM

"You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have hard drives with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads!" LMFAO LOLOLOLOL. Who says toms doesn't have a sense of humor? Good stuff Marcus.
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