Fujitsu joins the perpendicular storage revolution

Hard drive vendor has joined its rivals in turning to perpendicular techniques to pack more data on the platter.

Fujitsu announced on Wednesday that it will ship its first hard drive to use perpendicular recording in October--a 160GB, 2.5-inch drive for laptops.

Although Fujitsu was among the first to promise perpendicular recording in 2002, others got to market sooner with the technology, which increases the capacity of hard disks by aligning the magnetic domains vertically. Fujitsu has promised two models in its MHW2 BH series, the 160GB device and an 80GB version, both of which are designed with the shock-resistance required for laptops.

Fujitsu claims that its 160GB drive has the highest storage capacity for a 5,400 rev/min disk, but Seagate and Hitachi have both launched drives with the same capacity. Seagate launched its perpendicular laptop drives in January, including a 2.5-inch 160GB product and followed up with 3.5-inch drives in April.

Toshiba even showed off a 200GB drive in June and launched smaller perpendicular drives in 2005.

Hitachi also claimed it has used better chemicals in its 160GB drives and announced plans for a 230GB drive next year.

With drive makers racing to increase their capacities and the first perpendicular drives appearing on the shelves, the industry is already disputing which technology will eventually replace perpendicular recording. Cutting edge today, it is tipped to run out of steam by around 2011 by reaching a theoretical maximum density of around 1 terabit per square inch. The two front runners are heat-assisted magnetic recording and patterned media. Conventional longitudinal recording continues to hold its own, too.

With sales targets of six million units for the perpendicular drives, Fujitsu hopes to bolster its 21 percent market share of laptop drives, which currently puts in third in the field.

Peter Judge reported for ZDNet UK.

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