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Grain-Based Magnetic Recording Could Give Us 50 TB HDDs

By - Source: Xbit labs | B 35 comments

Every once in a while, when the physical limits of magnetic HDD recording are approached, the hard drive industry experiments with new magnetic recording technologies.

The goal is to increase the maximum storage density of a technology that is, in its very basics, almost 40 years old.

About 20 years ago, the industry believed that traditional horizontal magnetic recording techniques would top out at a density of about 100 Gb/square inch. 15 years ago, Seagate began experimenting with heat-assisted recording technology acquired with Quinta, which promised up to 250 Gb/square inch, but was able to push the boundaries up to 250 Gb/square inch in regular magnetic recording -- until the current perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) arrived in 2006, which is now believed to take the industry just over 1 Tb/ square inch.

Seagate, for example, is working on heat-assisted magnetic recording again, but there may be another opportunity: Grain-based magnetic recording, which apparently allows up to 10 Tb/square inch. In more common terms, this would enable hard drives in the range of up to 50 TB for 3.5-inch models.

According to an article over at X-bit labs, this technology would be "storing each data bit in a single magnetic grain of the thin film of the recording medium, rather than in several grains as in conventional hard drives". Initial test results at the A*Star Data Storage Institute appear to be encouraging and are good enough to be considered for a future magnetic recording type, which could enable the industry to elude, once again, the rather expensive move to heat- or laser-assisted magnetic recording.

 

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  • 21 Hide
    mikenygmail , October 31, 2012 7:21 PM
    50 TB? Finally, enough for all my large file needs. :) 
  • 19 Hide
    axiler , October 31, 2012 7:37 PM
    That's a lot of space for porn..
  • 16 Hide
    Prescott_666 , October 31, 2012 8:42 PM
    The first hard drives were 5MB, but I didn't get one of them. My first computer that could actually do something useful was an Osborne II with 2 5 1/4 inch floppies which ran the CPM operating system.

    My first hard drive was 20MB, and that was somewhat later.

    A 50TB drive will have 2 1/2 Billion times the storage that my first 20MB hard drive had, and 10 Billion times the storage that those 5MB hard drives had. And the 50TB hard drive will cost a small fraction of what the 5MB, 10MB, and 20MB hard drives cost. You may not be impressed, but you should be.
Other Comments
  • 6 Hide
    inerax , October 31, 2012 7:21 PM
    Fun thing is people will find a way to fill it. People said i would never fill my 3tb.... I got news for them. I may have lots of junk but I still filled it.

    Wonder what tech is next for mass storage.
  • 21 Hide
    mikenygmail , October 31, 2012 7:21 PM
    50 TB? Finally, enough for all my large file needs. :) 
  • 1 Hide
    bison88 , October 31, 2012 7:37 PM
    Is this relevant to HAMR (or TAMR) currently being developed which also promises upto 50TB hard drives in the future, or is this something completely different? Would this have the ability to be combined with HAMR/TAMR to further enhance the storage capacities the same way HAMR/TAMR + BPM is expected to far exceed 50TB much later down the road?

    This just leaves me with more questions.
  • -2 Hide
    ohim , October 31, 2012 7:37 PM
    Give them 50 TB drives and windows 10 will eat 5-10 TB! I still remember being able to make Windows XP as little as 300 - 500 MB and today we have 25 GB for about the same thing just with more eye candy.
  • 19 Hide
    axiler , October 31, 2012 7:37 PM
    That's a lot of space for porn..
  • 1 Hide
    gm0n3y , October 31, 2012 7:53 PM
    This doesn't sounds like a new technique, it is just using smaller and smaller numbers of magnetic grains to hold a bit (until you are down to a single grain). While this certainly isn't trivial, it's not exactly a new idea.
  • -4 Hide
    ttg_Avenged , October 31, 2012 7:56 PM
    10,000,000 songs. That is the actual number of how many 4 minute MP3s a 50TB HDD could hold, binary. Not enough.. 10 mil, dang.

    No but, I think they should forget that, and research into a much faster technology, such as NANDS on SSDs.
  • 3 Hide
    ricdiculus , October 31, 2012 8:01 PM
    Man that seems awesome and scary at the same time. Could use this in a HTPC but what about when it fails? I'd say raid is mandatory with this.
  • 4 Hide
    eternalkp , October 31, 2012 8:02 PM
    finally, a place to put all of my 1080p brazzers videos
  • 8 Hide
    Camikazi , October 31, 2012 8:19 PM
    hydac7That's nice , but how durable will it be ? can anybody do a magnetic hard drive which will never brake (mechanically)

    I am pretty sure nothing mechanical can be made break proof.
  • 6 Hide
    shafe88 , October 31, 2012 8:34 PM
    Wow 50TB, and just to think my first computer had a huge 512mb HDD.
  • 16 Hide
    Prescott_666 , October 31, 2012 8:42 PM
    The first hard drives were 5MB, but I didn't get one of them. My first computer that could actually do something useful was an Osborne II with 2 5 1/4 inch floppies which ran the CPM operating system.

    My first hard drive was 20MB, and that was somewhat later.

    A 50TB drive will have 2 1/2 Billion times the storage that my first 20MB hard drive had, and 10 Billion times the storage that those 5MB hard drives had. And the 50TB hard drive will cost a small fraction of what the 5MB, 10MB, and 20MB hard drives cost. You may not be impressed, but you should be.
  • 0 Hide
    ben850 , October 31, 2012 8:52 PM
    Not sure if I could ever trust 1 drive to hold 50TB of my data. Would have to RAID 1 them at the very least and then I might consider it.. Then again I have 128GB SSD, 640GB WD-Blue x2 and the overall 1408 GB of space is only being half used lol
  • 9 Hide
    jhansonxi , October 31, 2012 9:15 PM
    BigMack70I remember thinking I could never possibly fill my 1GB hard drive...
    I remember notching 5.25in floppies so I could use the other side and double the capacity.
  • 3 Hide
    memadmax , October 31, 2012 9:41 PM
    Higher density not only means higher capacity, but also higher transfer rates.
    =D
  • -8 Hide
    Proximon , October 31, 2012 9:51 PM
    Quote:
    A dumpster is a lot bigger than the can under your desk, but all it holds is a lot more garbage.


    Why are people voting this down? Do you not understand that those 50TB of space will just be filled up with garbage? Or did the statement just go over your heads?
  • 0 Hide
    abbadon_34 , October 31, 2012 9:51 PM
    better hurry to HDD competative against SSDs, they have a lost year to overcome
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , October 31, 2012 10:22 PM
    50 TB, now how long will it take to backup 50 TB, going to need a thunderbolt connection or faster.
  • 0 Hide
    ipwn3r456 , October 31, 2012 11:20 PM
    50TB HDD, but still at 100-140MB/s read and write speeds. Okay?
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