Just when it seems like mechanical hard drives are approaching the physical limits of capacity, some canny engineer manages to find a way to squeeze in a few more bits.
Today, it's Toshiba's turn to make the latest breakthrough by demonstrating a technology that will allow a storage capacity of 2.5Tb/in2.
Details of the new technique, called bit-patterned recording (BPR) will be detailed at the Magnetic Recording Conference in San Diego later today. It works by breaking up the recording surface into a series of very small magnetic bits organised into patterned rows.
As a result of the way in which the bits are organised, they can be a lot smaller without losing their charge, allowing for massively-increased storage density.
Toshiba's engineers have already managed storage of up to 2.5 terabits-per-square-inch - that's almost five times higher than the company's current top-of-the-line drives, which manage only 541 gigabits-per-square-inch.
The technology is of course very much in the prototype stage, but Toshiba believes that BPR should be ready to be used in retail drives sometime in 2013.
SSDs may continue to increase in capacity and decrease in price, but this latest development could ensure that traditional hard disks remain integral to our storage needs for the foreseeable future.
Source: PC World