Toshiba launches 80 GByte 1.8" harddrive

Tokyo - Perpendicular recording technology allowed Toshiba to reach a new record level of 133 Gbit per square inch storage density for its new pocket-sized harddrives. Look out for 80 GByte iPods to hit store shelves in spring of next year.

Toshiba announced the world's first hard disk drives based on perpendicular recording, a technology discussed for some time that enables manufacturers to increase the areal density on harddrive platters. The firm said that it will ship two 1.8" drives using perpendicular recording with either one or two platters in April of next year. The models offer a capacity of 40 and 80 GByte, respectively.

Conventional longitudinal recording stores data on a magnetic disk as microscopic magnet bits aligned in plane. Although advances in magnetic coatings continue to improve data recording densities on HDD, the magnetic bits repulse each other due to in-plane alignment. Squeezing more bits on to a disk will eventually reach a point where crowding degrades recorded bit quality, Toshiba said. Perpendicular recording reinforces magnetic coupling between neighboring bits and therefore achieves higher recording densities and more storage capacity.

The new harddrives store data in a density of 133 Gbit per square inch, the highest areal density in any mass market product reported to date. The capacity of 40 GByte platters used offers 33 percent more space than Toshiba's other drives, which include a 60 GByte 1.8" drive announced in June of this year. The closest competition is Seagate's 400 GByte Barracuda 7200.8 desktop drive, which integrates 133 GByte platters with a density of 103 Gbit per square inch.

Toshiba's new drives are likely to become first available as heart of the next iPod generation which will increase storage space to up to 20,000 songs.

The company said that it will use perpendicular recording also for its upcoming 0.85" harddrives. The drives are expected to become available in January 2005 and will offer a capacity of six to eight GByte, Toshiba said.