Seagate First to Ship 500GB on a Single-Platter Disk

The Barracuda 7200.12 HD, a 3.5-inch, 7200-rpm drive, packs a full 1TB of data capacity on two disks. Seagate's new hard drive features a record areal density of 329G bits per square inch and is aimed at both the consumer and enterprise markets for desktop RAID.

Seagate Technology upped the storage ante for consumer and enterprise desktop disk drives Jan. 5 by announcing the first volume shipments of a drive that features, for the first time, a single-platter 500GB disk.
The Barracuda 7200.12 HD, a 3.5-inch, 7200-rpm drive, packs a full 1TB of data capacity on two disks. It features a record areal density of 329G bits per square inch and is aimed at both the consumer and enterprise markets for desktop RAID.
Seagate's previous highest-volume single platter was a 320GB unit released in spring of 2008. Five of them were combined into one package to make the company's first 1.5TB storage drive, which was launched July 10, 2008.
The drive's SATA (Serial ATA) 3G-bps interface delivers a sustained data rate of up to 160MB per second for fast boot, application startup and file access. The drive is also offered in smaller capacities (750GB and 500GB) with cache options of 32MB and 16MB. Pricing information was not made available.
The new Barracuda features PMR (perpendicular magnetic recording) technology, which Seagate, IBM and Hitachi all have been using for the last few years to improve areal disk density-the number of bits of data that can be recorded onto the surface of a disk or platter.
Data stacked up on the disk
PMR is a newly reimplemented method for recording data on hard disks that was first demonstrated in Japan in 1976. The technique, which stacks up data on the disk surface, is capable of delivering up to 10 times the storage density of conventional longitudinal recording on the same media.
There were some attempts to use PMR in floppy disks in the 1980s, but it was not reliable enough. Major adjustments have since been made since then, however, and capacity breakthroughs have been routine for the last four years or so.
"The perpendicular technology still has a couple of generations to go before we see ourselves running out of runway in terms of areal density," Tom Major, vice president for Seagate's Personal Compute Business, told eWEEK. "We still have some increases planned in terms of PMR."
1TB disk coming in 2011
The next iteration to 750GB will probably be ready for prime time in nine to 12 months, and a 1TB single platter should be available in about two years, Major said.
"We expect to be shipping this current generation for quite a while, though," he said, "because this particular generation is a very cost-effective configuration [for us]. This is because of some innovative things that were done with the design. We took advantage of some things we did on the ASICs [application-specific integrated circuits] side, and we took advantage of some of the yield improvements from our component technology to bring in a real cost-effective version of the product."
For more information, go here.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he...