Pack On Those Gigabytes

Pack on Those Gigabytes

Just a few years ago, hard disk drives able to store a gigabyte (GB) or more were both rare and expensive. But these days, drives of 10 GB and upward are commonplace. In April, Fujitsu Ltd. engineers raised the ante still further. Eclipsing their peers at IBM and Hitachi Ltd., the scientists announced a hard drive capable of holding a record 56 GB per square inch of disk area, a fivefold improvement on current commercial technology. Using the new technology, a single 3.5-inch disk could store 78 GBs--music to the ears of techies and music fans jamming their drives full with MP3 files, digital pix, and streaming videos. And not only will these hard drives store more, but they'll be on shelves soon. Whereas experimental disk capacities achieved in 1990 took six years to hit the market, Fujitsu expects that this technology will be available in less than two. And Fujitsu is already working on ways to extend its data-density record another fivefold. At this rate, the terabyte hard drive--1,000 GB--isn't very far off.

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