Storage vendor Seagate is shipping a new mainstream desktop hard drive, which it claims has the highest areal density to date, packing 500GB of storage capacity on each platter.
Areal density, also known as bit density, refers to the amount of data that can be stored on each square inch of a hard disk platter. Because hard drive storage is based on magnetic polarisation, the density is limited by magnetic interference between the bits.
The new 3.5in Barracuda 7200.12 HD drives operate at 7,200rpm and can pack 329 gigabits of information on each square inch of the disk. They are available in capacities of 1TB, 750GB and 500GB with cache options of 32MB and 16MB.
"Demand for more desktop PC storage capacity is far from letting up as computer users worldwide generate massive amounts of digital content every day, " said Tom Major, vice president of Seagate's Personal Compute Business.
The Sata-based drives promise a sustained data transfer rate of up to 160Mbit/s and a burst speed of 3Gbit/s.
Pricing for the new drives has not yet been confirmed.
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