The future of hard drives is volitile

Subject: Storage | August 25, 2006 - 02:38 PM |

CNET looks at the future of harddrives, and how data density can continue to increase.  As the article points out, the current method of storing data, after a certain density, could become volitile at room temperature, to say nothing of the temperatures seen in some overclocked systems.  The next few years should be interesting for the R&D departments of major storage manufacturers.

"To increase the areal density, which is the amount of data a single platter inside a hard drive can

hold, engineers have shrunk the size of bits and grains over the years. This has helped PC makers to

boost the capacity of hard drives from a few megabytes to more than 100 gigabytes.

Successive years of shrinkage, however, have led to magnetic grains that measure about 8 nanometers

long. (A nanometer is a billionth of a meter.)

Reducing the grains further in size could cause them to flip at room temperature and so corrupt the

data--an aspect of the "superparamagnetic effect," first identified in the mid-1990s by Stan Charap of

Carnegie Mellon University. And cutting back on the number of grains inside each bit, absent further

changes, would increase noise and lower reliability."

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