back to article Disk drive industry appoints roadmap reading committee

In just three months the hard disk drive industry has put flesh on the bones of its Storage Technology Alliance and pretty much decided on HAMR as the way forward, judging by WD and Xyratex pronouncements. The hard disk drive industry trade body IDEMA (International Disk Drive Equipment and Materials Association) has set up …

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Boffin

When you're holding a hammer, every problem looks like a nail....

Are we not reaching the stage where magnetic media has had its day for general use? SSD is getting bigger and cheaper, and in the 4/5 year timescale discussed will likely be available at 1TB sizes for reasonable money.

At the other end of the scale, big corporate storage and data farms would probably be happy with current HDD areal densities in somewhat larger, slower devices - perhaps a 5.25" HDD spinning at 2-3,000 RPM, which would yield huge storage densities per U of rack space, for very reasonable unit costs.

I'm not sure I'd be happy signing the required multi-hundreds-of-billions-dollar cheques to build a fabrication plany for new HDD technology, personally.

GJC

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SSD for bulk storage

If and when SSD costs drop to within HDD range... 1TB will be quite small in 4 or 5 years' time.

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Boffin

Missed the point

SSDs may be heading into a good density to catch up with HDDs, but your assumption assumes HDDs stand still for the next 4/5 years. Common SSDs of the 1TB flavor (if they get here in 4 years) will be matching up against 1TB/sq in drives that float around 6TB+, and likely the spindle drives will STILL be cheaper.

On a side note, a 5.25" HDD would be an interesting option. Currently cramming an extra platter in a drive to make a jump in drive size could be side-stepped by making a 5.25" casing, and perhaps adding even 1/4" radius on the platters and maintain the 5400rpm speed. Perhaps add a 1/2" radius and lower to 4900rpm. Another alternative could be TWO spindles of a 2.5" flavor interweaved with an arm per spindle. In a 5.25" drive the size of a CD-ROM it might be possible. Only problem could be the proximity of the spinning platters to each other in the interwoven part. Could make the drive negative pressured to reduce/remove problems related to air. Who knows?

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Boffin

I wasn't making that assumption, in fact

What I was assuming was that users' storage needs will have reached a plateau for a while. Music, video, and photos get a particular quality level, and need not go any higher, and the number of each that a user has is unlikely to change much. So I suspect that 1TB will be fine for most users, with 2-3TB for the real heavy users.

Of course, technology could change that - widespread uptake of 1080p HD movies in digital format, perhaps. But I'm guessing not, personally.

GJC

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Pint

@Teoh Han Hui

There talking about hitting the wall of 1TB per sq in around 2014-2015, which is around 4 to 5 years, because they will be late ;p

It is only around that point that they will start moving beyond 1TB per sq in, so that will be 'around' 2015-2016, and you can bet with the new process the costs per unit will be quite staggering at the beginning.

I can imagine that very large data centres will be crying out for these massive density drives, and as I know I am already exponentially using more storage space on my own home PC. However for me, I would quite happily buy a power efficient massive storage drive in the full hight 5.25" size for bulk storage and pay less and use SDD's as my primary drives.

For most people I suspect the increasing size of SDD (which currently seems to be increasing faster than HDDs) will reach a point and cost where SDD's will become common for 'basic' computers, at that point your volume sales which would allow you to reduce the cost per unit might not be sufficient in the mass market, leaving 'mid sized' drives or RAID (which is surprisingly common on retail PC's) using a few 'small' SSD's are a better more cost effective method.

Which ever happens I will of course be happy, after all, more space/speed and lower power consumption are all good as far as I am concerned regardless of which technology gets me there first.

On a side note, most SSD's seem to be 2.5" in configuration, I have no problem with 3.5" sizes if it means I can get more storage per drive with out significant increase in cost.

I also note that 960Gb SDD's in 2.5" form factors are now around (albeit at £X,000), it does not feel all that long ago I was stunned by the 4Gb EeePC, and you could'nt get an SSD above 16Gb for love nor money. It feels like in the same time HDD's @3.5" have only gone from around 750Gb's to 2Tb's. More importantly, SDD's with there lower price (for the smaller ones anyway) are beginning to sell in larger numbers, which can only be good as far as price is concerned.

Anyway, all hail the future!!

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