updated 09:15 am EDT, Mon October 15, 2007
Hitachi CPP-GMR Drives
Hitachi's Global Storage division on Monday revealed a new technology in its labs that could quadruple the amount of available storage in just a few years. Called current perpendicular-to-the-plane giant magnetoresistive (CPP-GMR), the invention shrinks the drive head to between 30 and 50 nanometers versus the 70 of today's best shipping drives. It also compensates for the signal noise problems that would come along with the reduction, Hitachi says. A new magnetic film, improved patterning, and noise reduction make sure the drive can write as it normally would at the larger size, eliminating a density barrier that many have believed would be impossible to break with today's tunnel-magnetoresistive (TMR) drives by allowing smaller data bits on the drive without interference.
The initial implementation should be ready for shipping products by 2009 and will achieve 500 gigabits per square inch, more than twice as much as the 200 gigabits of today; the technology should peak as high as a full terabit per square inch by 2011 if research continues as predicted. While the company did not say what would be available on the initial release, it estimated that CPP-GMR would allow for drives roughly four times denser than today, providing 4TB drives on the desktop and 1TB notebook drives. No mention was made of how well the technique would apply to 1.8-inch and smaller drives found in portable media players or ultraportable computers.