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Hitachi Aims for 10TB Drives With Laser Heat

The future of speedy storage is in solid state, but the capacity advantage will still belong to the magnetic-based parts for the near future.

The one wrinkle in the evolution of hard disk drives is areal density. We may see HDDs grow to 3TB this year, but perpendicular magnetic recording technology is hitting a wall in terms of capacity.

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. A 20nm beam of light would be used to heat the storage medium while a magnetic head writes the bits.

The heat-based technology would enable smaller magnetic grains that could pave the way for 2.5 terabit per square inch -- five times the capacity of the densest hard drives of today, according to NordicHardware's explanation. This could mean hard drive sizes of 10TB.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • MadGoat1979
    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....
    Reply
  • hakesterman
    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!

    Reply
  • botabota
    Awesome... more room for pirated movies, software and... porn
    Reply
  • nforce4max
    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.
    Reply
  • alextheawesome
    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.
    Reply
  • xaira
    Step 1: Get Hard-drives
    Step 2: Attach lasers to Hard-drives
    Step 3:--------
    Step 4: Profit

    Sounds like a plan to me...
    Reply
  • derek2006
    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.
    Reply
  • wintermint
    I'm happy that technology is advancing but I don't like how it will leave a huge dent in our wallet :((
    Reply
  • Silicon Jesus
    Lasers are the future! Erm... Or is it the past?
    Reply
  • groveborn
    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.
    Reply