Seagate breaks through the 1TB-per-platter barrier for laptop drives

It's also considering a hybrid drive that uses the new 1TB platters

Seagate has broken through the 1TB per platter barrier for 2.5-in. (laptop) hard disk drives (HDD).

The breakthrough, announced today, is significant in that Seagate can now produce HDDs for ultrathin laptops, which require a 7mm-high drive form factor or less.

The new drive is 25% lighter than the previous generation of Seagate mobile hard drives, weighing in at 3.17 oz.

screen shot 2015 09 01 at 12.26.19 pm Seagate
Seagate's 2.5-in laptop hard drives.

Seagate did not say when the new, higher-capacity 7mm 2.5-in. drives would be available.

In 2011, Seagate announced it had broken the 1TB per platter barrier for 3.5-in. hard drives -- those used in desktops, servers and storage arrays. Those drives initially had capacities of up to 3TB per drive and a platter areal density of 625 gigabits per square inch.

In its announcement today, Seagate noted that every time drives are made smaller and thinner, valuable space is freed up in mobile devices that can accommodate additional  features, such as bigger batteries, more memory and better air circulation.

"Combining new mechanical firmware architectures with state-of-the-art heads, media and electronic design, this technology is a real game changer -- providing four times more capacity than a 0.25TB SSD at a substantially lower cost," Mark Re, Seagate's CTO, said in a statement.

Seagate said it is also considering using the new drive in a hybrid format, which would combine NAND flash and spinning platters. Hybrid drives use flash to load a computer's operating system and apps for faster boot ups and app load times, while storing files on the spinning platters.

John Rydning, IDC's research vice president for hard disk drives, said in a statement that the notebook PC continues to be an important productivity tool, especially for content creators who are producing an enormous volume of data.

"Seagate's new ultra-mobile HDD technology is ground-breaking for Seagate and the HDD industry, making it possible for notebook PC users to have generous storage capacity in a thin and light PC," Rydning said.

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Lucas Mearian

Computerworld (US)
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