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Seagate Technology, the world’s largest maker of hard disk drives who recently reported record earnings and profits, announced that virtually all of its hard disk drive production would use perpendicular recording technology by the end of next year. The claim reflects very aggressive plans of Seagate to shift to a brand new method of storing data on a magnetic platter.

“Over the coming year, the vast majority of products shipping [from Seagate] will be using perpendicular technology,” said Charles Pope, Seagate’s chief financial officer.

No other company has yet made bold claims about such a rapid transition of production to perpendicular recording technology. Seagate’s first hard disk drive to use platters with perpendicular recording capability will be 2.5” Momentus 5400.3 with capacity of 160GB and ship date scheduled for winter. This means that the overall transition would be essentially completed in about a year time – a rather ambitious plan, which may provide Seagate a number of advantages, if executed as claimed.

Perpendicular recording gets its name from the vertical alignment of data bits on the plane of the disk, which takes less room in contrast to the horizontal orientation of today’s longitudinal recording technology. To be accurately recorded and read, the more closely-packed perpendicular bits also require a closer association between the read/write head and the recording media. Hitachi said earlier this year it had achieved the 230Gb/in2 density by manipulating the head and media so that the distance between them is a mere 10nm.

Seagate shipped a total of 98 million units during fiscal year 2005, which ended on July 1, 2005, an increase of 24% over fiscal year 2004.

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