Hard drive makers face 'significant decisions' ahead

Hitachi, Seagate and WD pool resources to research new technology
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Hard drive maker Hitachi's research boss has said that a big change is needed to take physical disks beyond 2015. 

The market leaders of hard drives had earlier agreed to form a joint research group to pool resources in developing new technology to break through a storage density barrier. 

"So in the next two years we have to make some significant decisions," Currie Munch, vice president of worldwide research at Hitachi GST, told the EE Times. "The supply base needs a common direction from the industry, and that can't come from one company alone," he said.

The companies had earlier said that the lifetime of the present technology of perpendicular recording may be extended using a new shingled magnetic recording (SMR) technique which ultimately may be able to fit as much as 1.5 Terabits of information onto a square inch.

This is expected to meet demand until around 2015, after which the hard drive makers have no firm idea about what technology will deliver the ever increasing thirst for storage however each has pursued their own research efforts.

Hitchi has been working on patterned media while Seagate has been working on heat-assisted recording with a laser to heat minute sections of the disk. Each technology requires billions of dollars of investment and concern over the cost and looming deadlines has prompted a willingness to collaborate.

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