With all of the talk surrounding solid-state disks today, it’s easy to overlook the technological advances made with mechanical storage. One such example is the beefed-up and super-fast VelociRaptor 600GB, which features a SATA 3.0 interface and speeds that are 15% faster over the previous gen. And all the while, even mobile drives continue to see many improvements (who doesn’t want that 1TB Scorpio in their notebook?!).
In talking to many different people about the subject since earlier this year, some have told me that they believe mechanical storage to be on the way out, and flash to be the future. As for the current 2TB size limits… many also seem to think that if that’s not the roadblock, then it’s bound to happen soon. On the other end of the stick, in talking to companies like Seagate and Western Digital, I’m heartily told that there’s nothing to worry about… that there’s still gooey goodness on its way.
At CES this part January, one particular hard drive manufacturer alluded to the fact that we’d be seeing 2TB+ drives soon, but that was over four months ago, and we still don’t see them. So what’s the scoop? Well, according to AnandTech, a source has revealed that we’ll be seeing 3TB drives at some point in 2010, which doesn’t seem too unlikely. Many of us didn’t expect to see 2TB drives in the same 3.5″ form-factor, either.
The big question is how it’s going to be accomplished. Are we really going to see 620GB per platter, or an even larger figure? You might recall that PMR (Perpendicular Magnetic Recording) was introduced a few years ago to counter the density roadblock, and as things slowed down significantly after the 2TB mark was hit, it was really up in the air if PMR was going to be enough to keep things going.
Whether or not you need or want a 3TB drive in your rig, it’s hard to not be just a wee bit excited to see what the big HDD manufacturers have up their sleeves with those and other future drives.
A 3TB drive would suggest an increase in maximum platter size, from the current 500GB limit. If you remember back that far, the increase in density was due to a change in bit alignment, from horizontal to vertical, to counter the superparamagnetic effect. Hitachi made an excellent and funny flash animation to describe the technology. The feeling is that the increase in platter size is an extension of that technology, rather than a new physical property being exploited.