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Seagate Technology is giving desktop drives a 50 percent boost in capacity, thanks to a new method of storing data called perpendicular recording. The leading supplier of disk drives has upped the ante by releasing the 3.5-inch Barracuda 7200.10 -- the first 750-GB SATA desktop drive,
Perpendicular recording takes bits of data and aligns it vertically to increase aerial density; doing so enables the drive to offer a 10 percent improvement in performance, a company spokesman said. Disk drives traditionally have stored data horizontally and squeezed together until space ran out.
Several vendors, including Fujitsu, Hitachi and Maxtor, are transitioning their disk-drive architectures to perpendicular to meet new capacity requirements, but Seagate has taken an early lead. The move away from longitudinal recording methods, which will probably happen during the next two years, is a necessity because the technology can no longer handle higher capacities.
Earlier this year, Seagate started shipping 2.5-inch perpendicular drives for notebooks and blade servers, as well as a one-inch drive for personal recording devices, such as MP3 music players.
But the release of the Barracuda 7200.10 significantly increases capacity for desktops, servers and storage arrays. Seagate is offering the drives with either 8 MB or 16 MB of cache, and with data transfer rates of 1.5 Gbps or 3 Gbps. Seagate is also offering an ATA/100 version.
To improve the reliability of the drives, Seagate has introduced a function called "clean sweep," by which the actuator that writes to the disk to calibrate the drive sweeps over the drive when a system is first turned on.
The $590 drives are now shipping into distribution and OEM channels. Seagate will launch a $559 external unit with push-button backup next week.