Make way for the terabyte laptop drive

New technology from Seagate could increase disk capacity 10 times

Seagate Technology Inc. plans to increase disk capacity by 10 times with new technology it has just patented, meaning a computer hard drive could soon be storing as much as a terabyte of data.

The Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) technology created by Seagate includes nanotube-based lubrication to allow the read/write head of a disk to get closer to the surface and store more information.

The smaller the data-recording areas on a disk surface, the more of them that can be packed together, and subsequently the greater the capacity of the disk, Seagate said. But reading and writing ever-smaller bits means that the read/write head has to come closer to the disk surface, requiring a tough lubricant layer on the surface.

Storing data properly in extremely small areas requires the magnetic material to be heated during the writing phase, but this causes the lubricant film deposited on top of the magnetized recording layer to evaporate.

Seagate's patent resolves this problem by having a reservoir inside the disk casing that contains nanotube-based lubricant. Some of this is periodically pumped out as a vapor and deposited on the surface of the disk, replenishing the evaporated lubricant. The vapor deposition process is similar to that used in the production of CDs and DVDs.

Seagate anticipates that the new technology could increase disk capacity by a factor of 10, making possible a 600GB 1.8-in. drive, a 1.46TB 2.5-in. drive, and 7.5TB Barracuda 3.5-in. drive. The lubricant reservoirs will be built to last the life of the disk.

Seagate has not given a date by which the technology will appear in products.

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This story, "Make way for the terabyte laptop drive" was originally published by

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