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TDK Finally Crams 2TB on One 3.5-inch HDD Platter

Nearly one year ago, reports surfaced claiming that TDK had developed a technique that would cram 1 TB of data onto one hard drive platter. The company said it redesigned the magnetic read/write head of a hard drive by changing some of the materials and redesigning its overall structure to expand the recording density. The head also featured a special laser that heated up a high-coercive platter's hard surface with a precision of a few dozen nanometers.

This method of data storage is called heat-assisted magnetic recording, or HAMR, and was originally developed by Fujitsu back in 2006. By using this method, TDK achieved a BER of 10-2 with an areal density of 1 Tbit per square inch. That meant a 2.5-inch drive could theoretically store up to 2 TB of data.

At the time, TDK claimed that its new tech would go commercial as early as this year. There was even speculation that the industry would see 2 TB platters within the next 12 months. Tech-On reports that TDK has indeed reached this goal, and that it will use the new technology for volume production within 2014.

According to the report, TDK has achieved an areal density of 1.5 Tbits per square inch using a "magnetic head technology that is based on a thermal assist recording method and uses near-field light." That areal density is the equivalent to 1 TB per platter for 2.5-inch HDDs and 2 TB per platter for 3.5-inch HDDs, TDK said on Tuesday.

TDK verified the new areal density by using a "spin plate" rather than a working drive. A BER of 10-2 was confirmed by a linear density of 1,350kBPI and a track density of 1,113kTPI. The company then confirmed 1 Tbit per square inch technology with a linear density of 1,100kBPI and a track density of 915kTPI.

TDK told Tech-On that the actual results will be revealed at CREATEC JAPAN 2012 as the company showcases a prototype hard drive featuring the HAMR-based magnetic head.

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