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Researchers Discover Way to Extend HDD Storage 5X

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 62 comments

As perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) is expected to hit its physical density limit at about 1 Tb per square inch, we are hearing about new and innovative ways how a technology that is in its core more than 40 years old can get another extension.

Heat assisted magnetic recording has been a long time favorite, but scientists have found another approach to reduce the space between magnetic dots on HDD platters and preventing them from impacting each other at the same time.

At least in the lab, the technology uses a direct self assembly approach and would provide a five-fold increase of HDD storage density, breathing four to five more years of life into HDDs.

The idea is based to build tiny "walls" between the dots. The researchers used block copolymers, which lack magnetic properties and can assemble themselves automatically in a "highly regular patterns of dots or lines". If there is already a surface with "guideposts" in place, they can be forced to establish a desired pattern of walls to allow dots to be aligned in a much denser pattern than it is the case today, the scientists claim.

The viability of the discovery depends, of course, on its ability to be introduced into mass-production.  The researchers said they are working with HGST to evaluate how easily and economically direct self assembly could be used in HDD manufacturing. In the lab, they said that the block polymers can align themselves in about 30 seconds in "some cases".

 

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Top Comments
  • 28 Hide
    Hellbound , January 27, 2013 6:37 PM
    I remember a guy telling me back in the late 90's that people wouldn't need more than 5gb of space..
  • 26 Hide
    A Bad Day , January 27, 2013 6:07 PM
    Short-sighted people: "No need for more HDD capacity other than pornography."

    Back in 2000's: "No need for more than 32 GB of HDD capacity..."
  • 25 Hide
    A Bad Day , January 27, 2013 6:43 PM
    CaptainTomSee. I still can't justify an SSD. My PC boots up in 40 seconds, and my games load in 5 seconds. Why do I need more than that now? I will get an SSD when 1 TB is $100. But by then I would probably require at least 2 TB...


    See. I still can't justify getting a quadcore. My PC still gets decent frame-rates on a P4 clocked at 2.0 GHz.
Other Comments
    Display all 62 comments.
  • 26 Hide
    A Bad Day , January 27, 2013 6:07 PM
    Short-sighted people: "No need for more HDD capacity other than pornography."

    Back in 2000's: "No need for more than 32 GB of HDD capacity..."
  • 28 Hide
    Hellbound , January 27, 2013 6:37 PM
    I remember a guy telling me back in the late 90's that people wouldn't need more than 5gb of space..
  • 25 Hide
    A Bad Day , January 27, 2013 6:43 PM
    CaptainTomSee. I still can't justify an SSD. My PC boots up in 40 seconds, and my games load in 5 seconds. Why do I need more than that now? I will get an SSD when 1 TB is $100. But by then I would probably require at least 2 TB...


    See. I still can't justify getting a quadcore. My PC still gets decent frame-rates on a P4 clocked at 2.0 GHz.
  • 15 Hide
    freggo , January 27, 2013 6:43 PM
    CaptainTomSee. I still can't justify an SSD. My PC boots up in 40 seconds, and my games load in 5 seconds. Why do I need more than that now?...


    Depends on what you do. If you work all day on a PC these saved seconds add up.
    Kinda like going from a 4cyl to a 6 cylinder engine. Once you drove one you do not want to go back; even if you drive only the speed limit.


  • 2 Hide
    Pherule , January 27, 2013 7:04 PM
    CaptainTomSee. I still can't justify an SSD. My PC boots up in 40 seconds, and my games load in 5 seconds. Why do I need more than that now? I will get an SSD when 1 TB is $100. But by then I would probably require at least 2 TB...

    See. I just can't justify upgrading from my old 486. It runs MS Word 97 just fine.

    Face it, you need an SSD. Anything less than instant is not good enough. Or at least that will be the case within a few years.
  • 3 Hide
    danwat1234 , January 27, 2013 7:07 PM
    CaptainTomSee. I still can't justify an SSD. My PC boots up in 40 seconds, and my games load in 5 seconds. Why do I need more than that now? I will get an SSD when 1 TB is $100. But by then I would probably require at least 2 TB...


    Try installing 50 Windows updates, copying 100GB of data of small files to your drive, installing a new version of Matlab, running a virus scan or running bittorrent on a 100Mb/s internet connection while playing games.

    Let me know how long it takes you/how smoothly it runs. Or run out of memory and watch you pitiful 1TB hard drive grind away while your computer is unusable. SSDs crunch through low memory situations pretty well. They kick butt and they can handle 100s of Terabytes of writes.
    http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?271063-SSD-Write-Endurance-25nm-Vs-34nm/page208&post#5182

    And my 4 year old Core 2 Duo (3GHZ) laptop with a 3 year old SSD boots up in 18 seconds, 8 seconds if you start after POST. http://youtu.be/lyTJ-4dEqsY

    I have a second internal laptop drive for storage.
  • 10 Hide
    afrobacon , January 27, 2013 7:12 PM
    freggoDepends on what you do. If you work all day on a PC these saved seconds add up.Kinda like going from a 4cyl to a 6 cylinder engine. Once you drove one you do not want to go back; even if you drive only the speed limit.


    See. I still can't justify getting a 6 cylinder engine. My 4 cylinder is still quicker and more fuel efficient than most bigger engines. Turbos are like hyperthreading for cars.
  • 3 Hide
    A Bad Day , January 27, 2013 7:22 PM
    afrobaconSee. I still can't justify getting a 6 cylinder engine. My 4 cylinder is still quicker and more fuel efficient than most bigger engines. Turbos are like hyperthreading for cars.


    See. I still can't justify using air service to transport extremely perishable products. Shipping them over water is acceptable, even if my factory's production grinds to a halt while waiting for such products.
  • -7 Hide
    Anonymous , January 27, 2013 7:33 PM
    Needs to be a much easier and robust method of transferring the system to the SSD 1st, then I'll add one......
  • -5 Hide
    danwat1234 , January 27, 2013 7:42 PM
    jfro63Needs to be a much easier and robust method of transferring the system to the SSD 1st, then I'll add one......

    ....Norton Ghost, yo.
  • 7 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , January 27, 2013 7:43 PM
    Great, now cut the price of SSDs in 1/5th. Now, that'd be news!
  • 1 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , January 27, 2013 8:27 PM
    how about instead of prolonging HDD's life find better methods to store a large amount of infomation on an SSD to make SSD's more affordable.
  • 9 Hide
    A Bad Day , January 27, 2013 8:36 PM
    JOSHSKORNGreat, now cut the price of SSDs in 1/5th. Now, that'd be news!


    Check back in five years. It's like holding off on upgrading your computer since 2007 because you're waiting for DDR3 RAM's prices to go down.

    SteelCity1981how about instead of prolonging HDD's life find better methods to store a large amount of infomation on an SSD to make SSD's more affordable.


    Because for some tasks, cheap capacity is more important than speed.
  • 11 Hide
    CaptainTom , January 27, 2013 8:38 PM
    Quote:
    See. I still can't justify getting a quadcore. My PC still gets decent frame-rates on a P4 clocked at 2.0 GHz.


    How? LOL not exactly the same thing. When did I say they are a terrible purchase? I just don't think they are worth it on a desktop yet when you are on a budget.

    To everyone else:

    -I would certainly get one in my next laptop (Where speed and power use really matter)
    -If it is for a job that directly translates into money, then yeah it is worth it.
    -I use MATLAB, and often have tons of files opened and transferring at once. It takes one second to open word. Maybe some of you should take better care of your HDD's.
    -SSD's ARE superior to HDD's. I never said they weren't. But they don't hold enough data yet. I don't want 5 drives...


    I wasn't trolling lol. Calm down people...
  • 5 Hide
    drapacioli , January 27, 2013 8:45 PM
    This is good. While I love the performance gains that I get from having my OS on an SSD, the capacity still isn't there for me to use just SSDs. As a PC gamer, I've got well more than 300GB of program data that simply cannot fit on solid state drives without spending a fortune. Add to that the fact that I constantly record playthroughs and demos with FRAPS and even my 2TB drive can fill up easily. Until solid state drives are priced cheaper than HDDs, they will still have a use.
  • 2 Hide
    CaptainTom , January 27, 2013 8:45 PM
    Quote:
    Check back in five years. It's like holding off on upgrading your computer since 2007 because you're waiting for DDR3 RAM's prices to go down.



    Nobody is doing that. Right now SSD's cost more, hold FARRRRR less data, and would require a lot of file transferring (A huge headache). In 1-2 years they will probably hold triple the info and cost a fourth of the price. Then they will be worth it to SWITCH. If I was building brand new in a few months I would probably get one though, but I am not and I am content with what I have. I am glad you are too.
  • 4 Hide
    nukemaster , January 27, 2013 8:52 PM
    danwat1234Try installing 50 Windows updates, copying 100GB of data of small files to your drive, installing a new version of Matlab, running a virus scan or running bittorrent on a 100Mb/s internet connection while playing games. Let me know how long it takes you/how smoothly it runs. Or run out of memory and watch you pitiful 1TB hard drive grind away while your computer is unusable. SSDs crunch through low memory situations pretty well. They kick butt and they can handle 100s of Terabytes of writes.http://www.xtremesystems.org/forum [...] &post#5182And my 4 year old Core 2 Duo (3GHZ) laptop with a 3 year old SSD boots up in 18 seconds, 8 seconds if you start after POST. http://youtu.be/lyTJ-4dEqsYI have a second internal laptop drive for storage.

    Do you have quick boot on? If so, that is just hibernate. Either way. Even my rather old 64 gigabyte SSD does make Win8 fly too.

    I do not think I would build a system without an SSD anymore either, but storage will fall to hard drives for quite a while to come.
  • 1 Hide
    danwat1234 , January 27, 2013 8:58 PM
    Yes, quick boot. It's semi-hibernate. Regular full boot takes about 5 seconds longer. It helps mechanical drives more than SSDs, reduces the number of head movements. The only benefit to SSDs is less time to activate the drivers, less negotiation. I don't know the details.
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