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back to article Tosh builds mega dense hard drive - but can't read it yet

Toshiba has announced a breakthrough in extending disk drive capacity - sort of. It can build a platter holding four times more data bits, but it can't read it. The company has been developing bit-patterned media (BPM), a technique to make smaller collections of the grains used to record the magnetic charge for each bit and lay …

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Pint

AT LAST!

Write only memory.

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Joke

WOM

Write-only memory has been around for a while. How else do you think /dev/null is implemented?

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Grenade

HAMR, BPM........

....or in a few years time we would all switch to SSDs, rendering any type of HDD obsolete.

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Nope

"""....or in a few years time we would all switch to SSDs, rendering any type of HDD obsolete."""

Not sure what kind of SSDs you've got your hands on, but nothing available today, or on any roadmap I've seen indicates that we'll be seeing the end of rotating magnetic storage in the next decade or so. SSDs seem nice on paper, but they've got some serious problems to overcome before I'd, say, make a large raid5 array of them for reliable storage. And they'll never beat spinning drives on a cost / TB scale.

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FAIL

Right.

1995: ....or in a few years time we would all switch to SSDs, rendering any type of HDD obsolete.

1999: ....or in a few years time we would all switch to SSDs, rendering any type of HDD obsolete.

2001: ....or in a few years time we would all switch to SSDs, rendering any type of HDD obsolete.

2003: ....or in a few years time we would all switch to SSDs, rendering any type of HDD obsolete.

2006: ....or in a few years time we would all switch to SSDs, rendering any type of HDD obsolete.

2008: ....or in a few years time we would all switch to SSDs, rendering any type of HDD obsolete.

2010: ....or in a few years time we would all switch to SSDs, rendering any type of HDD obsolete.

...etc etc.

You can also add "The PC is dead, it will be replaced by the laptop/set top box", "This is the year of desktop linux" and "the video phone is the next big thing" to this list.

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Pint

Uh...

The video phone is indeed the next big thing

If you're Korean.

I've been seeing Korean shows that are set in the present where the characters just regularly video call each other.

If you're Japanese, it was the last big thing. They've had it since the 80s and are now into bent on building the most humanoid looking robots.

I'd drink to that. Both my 3G phones have video call facilities. Sadly, the only person I can call is myself since no other person I know have 3G videocall enabled cellphones.

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Gold badge

@David W.

The PC kind of is dead. Well, not dead...but on life support. It's really been relegated to an enthusiast/highish end workstation role.

Consoles have largely killed off PC gaming. What is left of PC gaming is pretty niche, and a tragic amount of games are just console ports. (I am a PC gamer, and it pains me to admit this.)

Netbooks, Laptops, Smartphone and now Tablets have done for the "casual internet browsing" part. What little remains for "casual internet" consumption that is "PC"-like is being cannibalised by low powered Linux boxen. This category is also doing some brutal clean-up in the “multimedia consumption” space.

VDI and SaaS have basically done for the “general office work” category; hell, my network’s Wyse thin client deployment to covers exactly that is proof it works well. (60 VMs on 3 two-year-old servers, no problems at all.)

What does that leave? Workstation stuff like CAD, video editing, some audio editing and possibly programming. Higher-end video gamin or enthusiast stuff. The big “mainstream” uses of computing just don’t need PCs any more, and people are starting to drift away from them in droves. Even a lot of the workstation stuff can cheerily be done on mid-range notebooks today, and I am starting to see more and more of this work moving onto these more portable platforms.

So the PC isn’t completely dead, but we definitely witnessing its final decline. There are the golden years of the PC; savour them for they will not return. Computing has become so commoditised that it simply becoming an appliance, as found in smartphones or thin clients.

As to switching to SSDs…it will happen. Hell, it’s happening already. We long ago reached the point where you just don’t need the kind of space available in a modern magnetic drive to run your PC or computing appliance. Somewhere there has to be a big old bank of storage…but less and less that storage has to be in your laptop, your PC or your phone. More and more that can be in a NAS device at home or even in “the cloud.”

I don’t think Magnetic spindles will disappear, but the storage tiers of today will be redefined. I can be quite happy with 160GB of storage on my notebook or desktop, so long as I have a NAD somewhere to dump my media on. 160GB will run my OS and applications, even when it’s almost all Microsoft’s bloatware.

All new PCs, notebooks or compute appliances I have deployed in the past 6 months or so have SSD primary storage, and only a few of them have been backed by Magnetic spindles. Why? Because I don’t care if a client computer drops its disk. I can always reimage it, and frankly SSDs are cheap enough to use for these low-demand situations.

Just as we are watching the twilight years of the PC, magnetic are moving starkly into the realm of “bulk data provisioning” whilst SSDs take over primary systems provisioning roles.

For that matter, have you noticed Android? It’s a Linux distro…and it’s kicking some royal ass. Sure, not on desktops (yet,) but this is definitely “the year of Linux,” as we see Android take a Linux distro into the hands of millions of ordinary non-nerd consumers for the VERY FIRST TIME. It’s historic, and it’s gone unnoticed by the kind of people who believe that if it’s not desktop PC dominance, it doesn’t matter.

Desktop PC dominance is what doesn’t matter, because people are abandoning that form factor in droves.

We’ll see about the videophone thing. I’ve just picked up a set of wicked Asus Skype videophones and was duly impressed. They are seeing a lot of use now, and I suspect Apple’s facetime will make a dent there too. If for no reason other than it’s Apple and it has a captive audience of millions of sheeple.

Understand that I don’t say any of the above lightly. I am not a web 2.0 Silicon Valley new tech lover with a shiny hat. I’m a grumpy old luddite curmudgeon who is still bitter about the damned ribbon bar, and uses a 386 notebook running Word Perfect 5.1 and Lotus 123 to write my articles on. (I proof them on my Windows VM before submitting them, natch.)

Much as I lament, the 90s are dead. Neat shit happened in the 2000s, and a lot of us refuse to admit it largely because we can’t currently afford it. Step back though, and take a look at what other people are buying. Not the nerds with decades of jaded views on how things “should be,’ but Jow Bloe average consumer and Large Enterprise CTO. It is their choices which determine where the volume market is, and where all tech companies will focus their efforts.

Those efforts don’t lie in the PC, or any of the traditional ways of doing things to which we have grown so accustomed.

More’s the pity.

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Bronze badge

Was it in "Popular Computing Weekly"

...that the "Hackers" cartoon ran? Humanoid figures like bloated gorillas discussing computer issues such as "You mean you only have to SAY 'Purge all files from disk?" and "It WAS the most popular payroll software around, but that's because it never applied deductions to salary."

Anyway, I think it was there that one innovator demonstrated his answer to CD-R technology - a "write-many-read-once" disk drive. Apparently it worked, but after use you might need a fire extinguisher.

And now here's a Toshiba "write-once-and-hope-for-technological-progress-to-make-the-disk-readable-someday" technology.

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Happy

Brilliant!

I appreciate the R&D is all about experiment and pushing things to see what can be achieved, but this is not much of a story is it? At least not until the other bit is sorted out, then it sound interesting I suppose.

Just as if we Brits had sent a man to the moon, "Yeah we got him up there, but we're buggered if know how to get the poor sod home again! Something will turn up, it always does! Tch!"

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FAIL

Um

If they can't read from the disk, how do they know they are actually writing to it?

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Silver badge

@Um

They haven't yet. All that they've done, is to align a head to a track. They haven't read from or written to that track yet.

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JDX
Gold badge

How to tell it was written...

I guess they can use a microscope to inspect it, just not anything that will fit in a normal drive

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Paris Hilton

Well, it does say in the article...

that they can't write to it, either. Merely detect tracks.

So at least they're consistent.

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JDX
Gold badge
Happy

Man on the moon

>>Just as if we Brits had sent a man to the moon,

>> "Yeah we got him up there, but we're buggered

>>if know how to get the poor sod home again!

You're right, that would never make the news.

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Pint

At this stage...

So at this stage, what, we'd call it Tosh.0?

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