Toshiba makes hard drive capacity breakthrough

Toshiba is to make an announcement later today about a data storage breakthrough, which is set to give users significantly higher capacity hard drives.

The company has apparently made significant headway with research of magnetic storage bit-patterened media, which is set to be the technology behind the hard drives of the future, making up for the limitations of current hard drives, which use dated technology that has reached its limit for capacity growth.

Current hard drives use magnetic material spread across the disk surface, with data stored over a large area. Bit-patterned technology, however, allows for storage of data within a single magnetic bit – and there can be thousands of them upon a single disk.

Toshiba said that it has managed to produce a sample which organises the bits in a pattern of rows, which is vital for identifying the location of specific data. Without this ability the technology might have greater capacity, but it would be impossible to sort through.

While the technology is still in the development stage, it should increase hard drive space by roughly 400 percent. Current technology has a density of 541 gigabits per square inch, but the bit-patterned media has a density of around 2.5 terabits per square inch, according to InfoWorld.

Toshiba is set to formally announce the breakthrough today at the Magnetic Recording Conference in San Diego. It expects the first hard drives to use the technology will be out by 2013.