Not to be outdone by Hitachi, which recently boasted about a new drive head that will enable 4TB hard drives in 2011, Western Digital has announced that it has broken the industry's record for highest areal density using continuous media.
WD says it was able to achieve a density of 520 gigabits per square inch using a conventional tunneling magneto-resistive head and perpendicular recording technology. For reference, areal densities for modern hard drives top out around the 200Gb/in² mark.
According to WD, 520Gb/in² is dense enough to produce 3.5" desktop hard drives with 640GB platters and total capacities up to 3TB. Or at least, it will be once the company commercializes such products. Based on the industry's current storage density growth rate, 3TB desktop hard drives will become available "in the 2010 timeframe," WD predicts.