PC drives will reach 600GB by 2007, industry says

The standard desktop PC of 2007 will have a hard disk drive with capacity between 500G bytes and 600G bytes, according to Mark Geenen, managing director of research company TrendFocus.

Notebook computers will be fitted with 300G-byte drives and small drives which can be used in mobile phones and PDAs (personal digital assistants) will be able to store around 20G bytes, Geenen said.

Speaking at a briefing organized by the International Disk Drive Equipment and Materials Association (IDEMA) on Monday, Geenen said there were no serious competitors to current hard disk technology for cost-effective data storage.

"The long-term demand (for storage) is there and this is a historic opportunity for our industry," he said. "The industry is poised for very impressive growth over the next few years."

Optical storage has been around a long time without making any major impact and flash memory is still too expensive, according to Geenen. Other storage technologies are yet to be commercialized -- heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) systems will not be available until 2006 and millipede systems until 2007 or 2008, Geenen said.

The most immediate advance in storage technology is the move to perpendicular storage of data on hard disks, which will begin to appear later this year, Geenen said.

Perpendicular storage is an evolutionary technology which can be produced using existing production lines. It can provide storage capacities of up to 1T-bit per square inch, which is equivalent to storing 1T byte on a single 3.5-inch disk platter and almost 10 times as much as today's standard longitudinal storage systems.

The disk drive industry will deliver over 300 million [M] hard drives of all kinds in 2004, 16 percent up on the 261 million [M] drives shipped in 2003, Geenen said.

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