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Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, the world’s third largest producer of hard disk drives (HDDs) said it had shipped one millionth perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) hard drive after six months of regular production. Hitachi expects to produce more than four million PMR hard drives by the end of 2006.

“The transition to perpendicular recording technology is essential for continued growth of the hard drive industry, which is why Hitachi invested significant time and resources to achieve a solid product in the Travelstar 5K160,” said Shinjiro Iwata, chief marketing officer, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies.

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.

Hitachi began manufacturing PMR-based products in May of this year when the company debuted the Travelstar 5K160. The company has already supplied one million of such drives and hopes to ship three more million by the end of the year. PMR production will represent roughly 35% of Hitachi’s fourth quarter 2.5” HDD output. Hitachi expects to fully transition its 2.5” product line to PMR by the end of 2007.

Hitachi’s ability to quickly ramp production of our first PMR product should give customers great confidence in the strength of the product, and provides a strong foundation for our next-generation 2.5-inch PMR products, which are currently under development for release in 2007,” Mr. Iwata said.

Hitachi’s 2.5” hard drives are produced in Thailand. PMR media, which are key to the high-volume ramp of the Travelstar 5K160, are produced in San Jose, California and Shenzhen, China.

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