Toshiba pushes hard disk density higher with new models

Toshiba announced Monday a line-up of hard disk drives for notebook computers that manage to cram more data than ever into a square inch of disk space.

The new drives have an areal density (the number of bits that can be stored per square inch) of 35.1 gigabits per square inch, which translates into the ability to store 20GB of data on each 2.5-inch platter. Toshiba's highest-capacity 2.5-inch drives to date had an areal density of 26.7 gigabits per square inch, for a single platter capacity of 15GB. Those devices began shipping in January this year.

Toshiba's drives are state of the art. Earlier this month Seagate Technology announced new drives with what the company claimed was a record-beating areal density of 32.6 gigabits per square inch. IBM has managed to achieve densities of 25.7 gigabits per square inch on commercial products, although it recently announced development of a new magnetic coating that it expects will push densities to 100 gigabits per square inch by 2003.

Toshiba announced four drive models on Monday. There are one- and two-platter versions of drives using fluid dynamic bearing (FDB) or ball bearing (BB) motors. The drives have a maximum rotational speed of 4,200 rpm, data transfer rate of 100MB per second, average seek time of 12 milliseconds and 13 milliseconds for the FDB and BB based drives respectively. The one-platter versions weigh 95 grams, and the two-platter models 99 grams.

Mass production will begin in July, said Toshiba. Pricing details were not announced.

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