Hitachi announced a new read-head technology that will lead to 3.5" HDDs with a capacity of 4TB and 2.5" notebook HDDs with a capacity of 1TB by 2011.
Researchers at Hitachi have successfully reduced existing recording heads by more than a factor of two to achieve new heads in the 30-50 nanometer (nm) range, which is up to 2,000 times smaller than the width of an average human hair (approx. 70-100 microns). Called current perpendicular-to-the-plane giant magnetoresistive1 (CPP-GMR) heads, Hitachi's new technology is expected to be implemented in shipping products in 2009 and reach its full potential in 2011.
Hitachi believes CPP-GMR heads will enable hard disk drive (HDD) recording densities of 500 gigabits per square inch (Gb/sq. in.) to one terabit per square inch (Tb/sq. in.), a quadrupling of today's highest areal densities. Earlier this year, Hitachi GST delivered the industry's first one-terabyte hard drive at 148 Gb/; the company's highest areal density shipping in products today is in the 200 Gb/ range. These products use existing head technology, called TMR2 (tunnel-magnetoresistive) heads. The recording head and media are the two key technologies controlling the miniaturization evolution and the exponential capacity growth of the HDD.
Recording heads with 50nm track widths are expected to debut in commercial products in 2009, and those with 30nm track widths will be implemented in products in 2011. Current TMR heads, shipping in products today, have track widths of 70nm.