Seagate Technology has begun shipment of its new notebook PC hard drives that align bits of data vertically rather than horizontally, overcoming a major roadblock to hard drive capacity — and software industry — expansion, the Associated Press reports.
Aligning the data vertically enables Seagate — and others — to boost a hard drive’s storage capacity without increasing the risk of jumbling data.
Since the first hard drive was introduced in 1956, bits have been arraigned horizontally within drives on spinning platters, the AP reports. To boost capacity in the past, engineers had to shrink the particles that “remember” the data. Today, those particles are about as small as they can be without interfering with other particles, the result of which can be devastating to data.
Vertical alignment of bits, or “perpendicular recording,” can bump the maximum storage a PC can handle to 160 gigabytes from 120 gigabytes.
Seagate’s Momentus 5400.3 drive is being shipped as of Monday, and the company plans to extend its new technology to other notebook drives, drives used in handhelds, and 3.5-inch drive for desktop PCs. A 2.5-inch drive costs about $325.
“Our transition to perpendicular technology increases our ability to meet the needs of our growing customer base,” said Karl Chicca, general manager of Seagate’s Personal Storage unit.
By Al Sacco