Seagate Swings "HAMR" to Increase Disc Drive Densities by a Factor of 100

2002-08-21 00:00:00.0

PITTSBURGH - Seagate has decided to use HAMR to cram even more bits of information per square inch into hard disc drives, pushing the limits of magnetic recording even further beyond what was ever thought possible. The Company today demonstrated its revolutionary Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) technology, which records data magnetically on high-stability media using laser thermal assistance.

This demonstration took place during the grand opening celebration of Seagate's new 200,000 square foot, state of the art research centre, located in Pittsburgh, PA.

HAMR, combined with self-ordered magnetic arrays of iron-platinum particles, is expected to break through the so-called superparamagnetic limit of magnetic recording by a factor of more than 100 to ultimately deliver storage densities as great as 50 terabits per square inch. This will provide the capability for people to store the entire printed contents of the US Library of Congress on a single disc drive in their notebook computers.

Seagate's HAMR technology is also designed to achieve its high areal densities at a cost structure that is in line with the hard disc drives of today, making HAMR a key enabling technology that will allow the adoption of mass storage to continue to enter various emerging markets.

"With this demonstration of HAMR, Seagate has offered us a glimpse of future magnetic recording technology. Technologies such as HAMR will continue to keep disc drives as the preferred mass storage device for mainstream computing for many years to come," said Dave Reinsel, Research Manager at IDC. "Offerings that compete with traditional magnetic recording must not only be able to achieve the fast performance, high capacities and reliability found in today's disc drives, but must also be priced competitively. Seagate's HAMR technology has the potential to maintain a competitive balance of these attributes, thus paving the way for the integration of this new technology."

Seagate Research has worked on HAMR technology, as well as various other storage technologies, since it was established in a temporary research facility in 1998. Last year, the US Department of Commerce's Advanced Technology Programme recognised the impact that HAMR will have on storage, and awarded Seagate and its research partners a grant worth more than US$10 million over five years. Seagate's forward-thinking strategy with R&D has enabled the company to achieve its leadership position consistently in all markets served by Seagate.

"Seagate's leadership position can be attributed to an ongoing commitment to investment in research and technology development, which provides us with time-to-market products for our customers," said Steve Luczo, Seagate Chief Executive Officer. "By providing leadership products that give our customers a significant competitive advantage, we have strengthened our strategic relationships with the industry's leading technology providers."

The Need for HAMR: How it Works

HAMR technology will significantly extend the capacity of modern magnetic disc drives that use magnetic heads to read and write digital data on to spinning discs. If the storage density (the number of data bits stored on a given disc surface) continues its phenomenal growth rate, within the next five-to-ten years the data bits will become so small that they may be magnetically unstable due to a phenomenon known as superparamagnetism. The solution is to use a more stable medium; however, today's magnetic heads are unable to write data to such media. HAMR solves this problem by heating the medium with a laser-generated beam at the precise spot where data bits are being recorded. When heated, the medium becomes easier to write to, and the rapid subsequent cooling stabilises the written data. The result of this heat-assisted recording is a dramatic increase in the recorded density that can be achieved.

A Series of Firsts: Seagate's Tradition of HDD Technology Leadership

Over the years, Seagate has achieved numerous technology breakthroughs, holding key patents for many of the most significant technologies used in storage today.

From the introduction of the world's first 7,200-rpm, 10K-rpm and 15K-rpm disc drives, to setting several areal density records in storage, the most recent reaching more than 100Gb per square inch, Seagate is widely recognised for its technology leadership. Its industry "firsts" also include the successful use of Fluid Dynamic Bearings in hard disc drives, more than five years before any competitor could attempt to implement the technology. The use of Rotation Vibration (RV) sensors was also developed and introduced into products first by Seagate, enabling enterprise disc drives used in mission-critical environments to perform optimally even in the most challenging conditions.

For more information about Seagate, visit www.seagate.com.

Seagate is the worldwide leader in the design, manufacturing and marketing of hard disc drives for Enterprise, PC and Consumer Electronics applications. The Company is committed to delivering award-winning products, customer support and reliability, to meet the world's growing demand for information storage. Seagate can be found around the globe and at www.seagate.com.

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