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While the hard drive industry has been using longitudinal recording successfully for five decades, it is now within two product generations of reaching its practical limit.

Since the first commercial hard drive was introduced in 1956, the industry has grown storage capacity exponentially by decreasing the size of the magnetic grains that make up data bits. In effect, the smaller the magnetic grain, the smaller the bit, the more data that can be stored on a disk. With longitudinal recording, we are getting close to the point where data integrity will be harmed if we continue to shrink the magnetic grains. This is due to the superparamagnetic effect.

Superparamagnetism occurs when the microscopic magnetic grains on the disk become so tiny that random thermal vibrations at room temperature cause them to lose their ability to hold their magnetic orientations. What results are “flipped bits” – bits whose magnetic north and south poles suddenly and spontaneously reverse – that corrupt data, rendering it and the storage device unreliable.

The geometry and coercivity advantages of perpendicular recording led scientists to believe in potential areal densities that are up to 10 times greater than the maximum possible with longitudinal recording. Given current estimates, that would suggest an areal density using perpendicular recording as great as one terabit per square inch -- making possible in two to three years a 3.5-inch disk drive capable of storing an entire terabyte of data.

Industry analysts have predicted that hard drives for consumer electronics will account for 40 percent of all hard drive shipments by 2008, up from 9 percent in 2003 and 15 percent in 2004. But unlike hard drives used in IT applications where performance is key, hard drives for consumer electronic applications have ultra-high storage capacity as their main requirement. More than ever, consumers are holding their entertainment and personal data in digital formats and have demonstrated an insatiable appetite for storing more music, photos, video and other personal documents. So much so, that Hitachi GST believes in the next 5-10 years, the average household will have 10-20 hard drives in various applications. This vision will require the successful adoption of perpendicular recording.

- "Perpendicular Recording: A Boon for Consumer Electronics," Kim Nguyen, Corporate Communications, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies http://www.hitachigst.com, April 2005

HTML here http://www.hitachigst.com/hdd/research/recording_head/pr/PerpendicularPaper.html

PDF here http://www.hitachigst.com/hdd/research/images/pr%20images/PerpRecWP.pdf

- "Perpendicular Recording: A Boon for Consumer Electronics," Kim Nguyen, Corporate Communications, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies http://www.hitachigst.com, April 2005

Directory: http://www.larryblakeley.com/Articles/storage_magnetic_media/

File Name: kim_nguyen200504_abstract.htm

Post Date: April 27, 2005 at 8:15 AM CDT; 1315 GMT