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IBM Invents Denser Drives 21

MrCynical sent us a press release over at Yahoo proclaiming that IBM has invented Denser Hard Drives. While still 3 years away from manufacturing, they claim 2.5 billion bytes per square inch (the release also says this is 3 times more than IBMs current offerings). As would be expected, the first to benefit would be portable PCs.
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IBM Invents Denser Drives

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  • by joss ( 1346 )
    You can avoid reading all the other comments, here is a summary:

    Cool, I want one
    How many MP3s ?
    First comment
    But how long to fsck ?
    But does it run Linux ?
    What about beowulf

  • Easy. They were probably referring to monospaced, double-line-space fonts printed on standard green-striped computer paper using a dot-matrix printer. This seems to be the platinum rod for measuring data capacity in PHB terms.
  • by ch-chuck ( 9622 ) on Wednesday May 12, 1999 @09:45AM (#1896313) Homepage
    I was just reading some oooold Scientific American's from the mid 50's with ads for drum memory units - big Industrial strength monsters - with a whopping 2200 bits / sq. in.
    Whaahahaha. One model could store 600K bits Eeeehehehe. @^)
    No wonder they decided to leave off the '19' in year fields, geeze.

  • It was the research of IBM and announcements like this eighteen months ago that led to my newest toy, a TravelStar 14.1GB 2.5" IDE drive for my thinkpad.

    As the standards are slow to change, I can see IBM incorporating this technology into IDE Interface 2.5" drives. Or maybe three years from now FireWire will be big. I kind of doubt it. Three years ago I thought that IDE was dead and that SCSI would be king by now. I was very wrong.

    I don't think they will consume any more power than they do now, and I'd imagine that they will probably spin at 5,400 RPM... most 2.5" drives now spin at 3,600 or 4K, the notable exception being the new 14.1GB TravelStar, which spins at 4,900.

    Anyway, this announcement is great news because IBM storage has a fantastic record of bringing new technologies to market.

    And to answer your question about what to do with all that space... I have 130 of my CDs mp3 compressed and with me wherever I go. I like that.
  • For those who like their units metric, this
    is 31 bits per square micron.
  • See The memory management reference [] for four separate definitions of "byte". It took us a while to get it down to four.
  • It's getting to the point where analogies(?) like this don't really make sense anymore. For one thing, a lot more people understand what a gigabyte is these days.
    Second, how can you really visualize the sheer magnitude of 100 Gbytes == 60 truckloads of printed text?
  • From the article:
    "A byte can store about one character of text."
    I'm glad they tell me these things. :)

    /* TODO: Insert witty Unicode reference here. */

    It was only a few years ago I saw an article about 10 gig IBM drives. The article said that the drives could hold the equivalent of "six pickup trucks of printed information".

    We spent a lot of time wondering what model truck, whether the information was printed on both sides of the page, what size font was used, etc.
  • Of course this will be available to everyone! It isn't a neat new invention, it's just the normal incremental progress we're used to.

    Let's do the math and see if this is anything remarkable. 2.5 gigs per sq inch, this comes out to 10 gig per surface for a normal 3.5 inch disk (or something around that). I assume a 3" OD, 2" ID. So with 4 platters, 8 surfaces, you get 80 gigs. Big whoopee. Maybe I did the calculations wrong. With 3.2" OD and 1.5" ID you get 120 gigs. Current 20 gig disks are about $270. So it costs $1200 to do this with current technology. Anyway, in three years it'll cost a couple hundred dollars and be standard equiptment.

    BTW, lots of people DID dl the Matrix. I know 'cause I served it :) Email me if you want the url.
  • > Terra byte storage is looking like a big
    > possibilty ...

    Sure! Buy a terabyte today for 15 grand or so. Cheaper than a [nice] car.
  • > Not really..haha.. But in 2 years ...

    More likely 4 years for $1k/TB. Figure double every two years. Rust seems to move a little slower than silicon.
  • by haledon ( 43675 ) on Wednesday May 12, 1999 @05:05AM (#1896326)
    i actually read about this around 18 months ago, i believe. at the time, there was a single prototyp built, or the designs and some proof that the designs would work. i really can't recall. of course the technology is interesting, and of course i'm glad to see it, but i wonder how this will affect me
    what is the interface of such a device? are there any limitations to the technology that would render it virtually out of reach for the the consumer market? how fast will these puppies fly? how much will they cost? what kinds of power consumptions are we looking at here? can they be dropped into a box with SCSI drives as well? will IBM be the sole manufacturer of such devices, or are there other people working on it? all these questions boil down to: how practical is it? how much will it cost? will it work for me? and of course, is it worth it?
    there will likely be tons of posts like, "ooooh, i can't wait to get one!" and of course, who would NOT want such high capacity storage? but... what if average joe (well average joe slashdotter) just can't afford it?
    of course, on the OTHER hand... if things are on the upside, what kinds of options could this open up? removable media, anyone? portable solutions?
    then again, there is the impact it could have... warez are traded over the net all the time. as time progresses, so too to connection speeds, HD sizes, and the size of warez files. most here have probably noticed the Matrix movie (yes, the ENTIRE 1.2 gig movie) available up for grabs on warez sites. not many grabbed it, but those w/ lots of HD space and connection speeds high enough certainly did. in fact, congress held a hearing a few months back (anyone wanna refernece this for me?) where someone voiced concern over DVD titles and the likliehood of piracy. the fear was that with so many DVD players being put into computers these days, people would soon start pirating movies on an order of magnitude at least equal to the piracy of software. the committee concluded that the (relatively) slow average net access speeds and high levels of storage space required for such piracy to take place were sufficiently out of reach of most people. this may not be the case 3 years from now when (if?) storage devices such as these hit the market and broadband net access becomes more common...
    just a few thoughts on the impact of technology. remember how long it used to take to download text files from BBSs over 2400 baud modems? =)
    ...and just because i have to, "cool, i want one!" -Jonty )|(

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky