New drive tech promises a terabit per square inch

A new technology co-developed by Toshiba and Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan promises to increase the density of hard drive platters to a whopping 1Tb per square inch, according to a report by Ars Technica. That density is close to six times higher than the 178.8Gb per square inch in Toshiba's own 2.5" 200GB hard drive announced last year. As Ars explains:
The proposed next-generation technology would utilize Nanocontact Magnetic Resistance (NC-MR) to boost the magnetoresistance of the drive head. Drive prototypes have demonstrated a magnetoresistance ratio that's twice as large as current read heads (140 percent at room temperature), as well as decreased resistances that should allow for further miniaturization of drive read heads.
Assuming a 2.5" hard drive similar to Toshiba's 200GB model but with a 1Tb/in² platter density instead of 178.8Gb/in², capacity could theoretically be boosted to over 1TB—or 500GB per platter. Of course, Toshiba isn't the only one in the race. Ars points out that both Hitachi and Seagate are also working on increasing platter densities beyond 1Tb/in².
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