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Data Storage Hardware

Toshiba Claims Bit-Patterned Drive Breakthrough 151

CWmike writes "Toshiba will detail a breakthrough in data storage later Wednesday that it says paves the way for hard drives with vastly higher capacity than today, reports Martyn WIlliams. The breakthrough has been made in the research of bit-patterned media, a magnetic storage technology that is being developed for future hard disk drives. Bit-patterned media breaks up the recording surface into numerous magnetic bits, each consisting of a few magnetic grains. Under a microscope, the magnetic bits look like thousands of tiny spheres crammed next to each another. Data is stored on these magnetic bits: One magnetic bit can hold one bit of data. Prototypes of the media have been made before but Toshiba says its engineers have, for the first time, succeeded in producing a media sample in which the magnetic bits are organized into a pattern of rows."
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Toshiba Claims Bit-Patterned Drive Breakthrough

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  • I've heard that patterned media will be too expensive to ever mass produce profitably so the industry will probably use HAMR instead.

    • Who did you hear this from, a guy in a bar? Give us some details man, inquiring minds want to know. Wikipedia says Seagate is talking about a combination of patterned media and HAMR, but both technologies appear to be years into the future.

  • I read TFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by Megahard ( 1053072 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @04:03PM (#33293162)
    They claim that this will increase the density 5x.
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by noidentity ( 188756 )

      I read TFA. They claim that this will increase the density 5x.

      Actually, the article actually only claims about a 4x increase (actually only 3.62):

      Toshiba's sample media is still in the prototype stage, but is built at a density equivalent to 2.5 terabits per square inch. Contrast that with Toshiba's current highest capacity drive today, which is based on existing technology and has a density of 541 gigabits per square inch or about one fifth that of the new technology.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        uh... 2.5tb/541gb = 4.62 (technically rounded up to 5)

        Learn to use the calculator, dude.

        • You are ignoring the word "increased". They increased the density by 3.62x. Think about it; if they increased it by 1x, that would mean the new density was double the original. Thus an increase of 2x would be 3x the original, and... an incease by 3.62x would be 4.62x the original.
  • by IICV ( 652597 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @04:05PM (#33293194)

    I'm kind of curious; after the "Get Perpendicular! []" video, how's Toshiba going to top Hitachi in the "silly video explaining your new technology" race?

    After reading TFA, I'm almost scared that it'll involve some sort of cartoon magnetic grain orgy.

    • Whatever it is it cannot be worse than "the hard drive is the new bling" that Hitachi did. Look that one up... it is heinous. It could only have been worse if they had done it in blackface.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      At least it's not a breakthrough in Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording. I can just imagine a 'HAMR Time' video.

  • how this differs (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    here is a link which might explain things more clearly

  • by assemblerex ( 1275164 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @04:23PM (#33293478)
    RIAA must be rolling on the floor having a seizure right about now...
  • Quick explanation (Score:5, Informative)

    by AdmiralXyz ( 1378985 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @04:26PM (#33293518)
    For those who are too lazy to RTFA, here's a very simplified explanation of what's going on:

    In current drives a bunch of rather randomly sized and shaped magnetic grains are basically "glued" to the surface of the drive, and the collective orientation of a certain number of those grains (called a domain) determines whether you've got a 1 or a 0.

    In this, instead of dumping grains onto the surface, they're using lithography to carve very precise grains onto the disk, which can be made much smaller and more identical in shape, than the random ones allowing for vastly higher storage densities. It's basically applying the same technology used to make computer chips to make hard drives. The technology has actually existed for a while, but the cost per bit to pattern lithograph a hard drive has always been huge; I guess Toshiba has figured out how to bring it under control. Cool stuff.
    • Some people will probably need a car analogy to sum it all up.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by S-100 ( 1295224 )
        OK, I'll give it a try.

        Existing disc platters are like parking in a field. Each car has to find its way to a spot that is clear of surrounding vehicles, and there is no pre-defined organization of the parking spots. So typically, extra space will be wasted in pathways for cars to get in and out, and there will be the inevitable mishaps with cars trapped in their spots or with no escape.

        The new method precisely defines each parking spot, and there is an optimal amount of space provided for every car to
        • by blair1q ( 305137 )

          I don't know about a car, but 2.5 Tb/in^2 makes the tracks one 645th the width of a human hair.

      • I'll take a crack at that.

        Point to point distance of: car vs train.

        A car is like existing drive technology. Depending on who's driving (manufacturer), the road (materials used), the point-to-point distance (inverse of capacity) of a trip varies. If the driver isn't an expert, he might be all over the road (more magnetic surface used) - adding distance to the trip (decreasing capacity). Additionally, if the road is rough (randomly sized magnetic grains) distance is added to the trip.

        A train, however, util

      • Some people will probably need a car analogy to sum it all up.

        Ok - in LA you have seventeen or so lanes of traffic. But because they are all headed the same direction, they all sit at a standstill pointed the direction they are supposed to be going.

        Now compare that to Cairo, which has cars going every which way along with camels and a million pedestrians per square mile. In Cairo everyone sits at a standstill, but they may not be pointed where they want to go, with the single side benefit that they can bu

        • by Mal-2 ( 675116 )

          In Cairo everyone sits at a standstill, but they may not be pointed where they want to go, with the single side benefit that they can buy figs at any time from a local street vendor.

          Replace "figs" with "oranges" or "melons" or "flowers", and you could still be describing Los Angeles. Minus the camels.


  • Thanks, firehose (Score:4, Insightful)

    by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @04:30PM (#33293572) Journal

    You know, I deliberately posted a different version of this summary [] specifically because the summary that was selected here is a lazy cut-and-paste of the poorly written lead of TFA itself.

    And not only wasn't my superior summary not selected, but it's been deleted from the firehose page [], where it should appear between Minority Report Style Iris Scanners in Mexico [] and Cats Lies and the Research PR Machine [].

    Slashdot has gone from valuable to random, and is going from random to stupid.

    • specifically because the summary that was selected here is a lazy cut-and-paste of the poorly written lead of TFA itself.

      But that was specifically why sampenzus picked this version. He is all about stupid. Have you not seen the rest of the shlock he posts?

      • by blair1q ( 305137 )

        You think that /. employees are actually using any sort of qualitative decisionmaking criteria when selecting articles for the main feeds?

        That ended long ago.

        Now they take whatever has the highest +/- ratio when the bell rings to churn the ad stream.

        I'm not sure who deleted my version of the link or why, but I'm sure that it involved a long, heartfelt, gut-wrenching decision to do the right thing. Not.

    • by mcrbids ( 148650 )

      Slashdot has gone from valuable to random, and is going from random to stupid.

      I'm guessing by this comment and your high UID that you are new around here?

    • Re:Thanks, firehose (Score:4, Interesting)

      by thePig ( 964303 ) <> on Thursday August 19, 2010 @01:06AM (#33297752) Journal

      It indeed might be the reason that this got picked.
      See - with this copy-pasted summary - there is much less chance of it being wrong - and thereby lesser chance of ridicule.
      Any issues in the summary/article - the buck can be passed to the article in question - again the editor escapes censure.
      This way, the editor does not need to think too much about the article, rather a non-thinking way of copy-paste can produce the maximum results with minimum effort and minimum pay for the editors.
      A more cynical view could be that with a perfect summary, people reading the article will be lesser - thereby decreasing the ad revenue for the articles - even though I do not fully subscribe to it - as per Hanlon's razor []

      I read your summary - it is a perfect summary - it summarizes the main points of the article properly and in an ideal world - all summaries should be written that way.
      But, the fact it was not picked seems shows the sad state of affairs in /. where quality is given scant recognition.

  • Today: New technology overcomes previous limitations!

    Tomorrow: Limit of technology predicted! Oh noes!

    Day after: New technology overcomes previous limitations!

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