Seagate, Hitachi up density in hard drive material

Seagate Technologies and Hitachi celebrated the 50th anniversary of the hard drive by announcing two records in areal density, or the amount of data you can squeeze into a fixed area on a platter.

Hitachi went first, claiming that in its lab, it has managed to squeeze 345 gigabits of data in a square inch. With this material, Hitachi says it can make desktop drives that hold 2 terabytes in 2009. Hitachi says it will make 1TB desktop drives in the first half of 2007. (A terabyte, or TB, is 1,000 gigabytes. Eight gigabits make up one gigabyte.)

Two days later, Seagate struck, claiming it has squeezed on 421 gigabits per square inch. That would lead to 2.5TB desktop drives in 2009 that could hold 4,000 hours of digital video. Do people need that much storage? You say no now, but history says that it will get consumed.

Sources close to Seagate says that company will come out with 1TB desktop drives in late 2006 or early 2007. But these new products always come out in fairly low numbers.

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    Michael Kanellos is editor at large at CNET News.com, where he covers hardware, research and development, start-ups and the tech industry overseas.

     

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