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February 7, 2007

The 1TB hard disk

At the beginning of January 2007, Hitachi Data Systems announced that it had developed what it claims to be the first 1TB hard drive for the home market. While a 1TB hard drive for the home may sound a little excessive, with operating systems and applications demanding increasing amounts of storage and consumers amassing huge photo and music libraries, there is a market for such a disk.

By CBR Staff Writer

Hitachi Data Systems’ (HDS) Deskstar 7K1000 provides a high capacity storage drive for games, photos, music, and home movies. HDS has increased the capacity by using perpendicular magnetic recording, rather than longitudinal. A spokesman describes the perpendicular technology as recording the bits standing up – in the past they have been laid across the disks. It is also claimed that the disks are more robust due to a ramp load design, which decreases the risk of shock damage.

The company has also announced the CinemaStar 1TB hard drive, for use with digital video recorders.

A 1TB disk may sound a little excessive – after all laptops are still being sold with disks of less than 100GB capacity – but photo and music libraries have a tendency to expand to fit the available space. With digital cameras available of 10 million-plus mega pixels, and iPods with capacities of in excess of 50GB, along with games that require large amounts of storage to install and run, it is now relatively easy to fill a 100GB hard disk.

One concern with such a large disk is wear and tear, but it is now possible to have a laptop with a built-in flash chip that stores data that is currently being worked on, which reduces the disk spinning time. Another worry is that, as disks get bigger, any failure will result in a much bigger loss of data, unless the contents of the disk are backed up regularly – something that many home users do not even think about.

In the future, the hard disk will most likely be replaced by newer technologies, for example flash memory. SanDisk is producing a flash drive that has some advantages over disk, including faster booting times for laptops running only flash drives, and reduced battery usage. However, the major drawback is that the current maximum capacity is 32GB, so several drives would be needed in a single machine. It is therefore too early to start talking about the death of the hard disk.

With operating systems and applications demanding increasing amounts of storage, and consumers storing huge photo and music libraries on computers, there is a market for a 1TB hard drive. However, as hard disks grow in capacity, consumers must take precautions to protect their data. While losing the contents of the hard disk is not a disaster in the sense of a business losing its critical data, losing a lifetime of memories that cannot be replaced will nevertheless be extremely upsetting. In coming years, data recovery companies may well find that they have a new category of customer – the consumer market wanting to retrieve the contents of large-capacity disks.

Source: OpinionWire by Butler Group (www.butlergroup.com)

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