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Seagate Technology, the largest global producer of hard disk drives (HDDs), has said that its shipments of hard drives with perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) technology had surpassed 16 million milestone.

But while 16 million of hard drives seems as a significant amount, it really is not that significant. On the one hand, 16 million of hard drives featuring PMR tech is higher amount of PMR HDDs that any of the other makers have shipped. But on the other hand it means that hard drives with perpendicular recording technology account for less than 10% of all hard drives shipped by Seagate, which commands about 30% of HDD shipments globally. Total available market for hard disk drives is over 400 million units a year.

Seagate said in late July, 2005 that in 2006 the vast majority of products shipped by the company would be using perpendicular recording technology. While 10% does not seem to be inline with the “vast majority” projection and Seagate itself does not make official prediction regarding the transition, it quotes an analyst from iSuppli Corp., who believes that it is possible for Seagate to skyrocket share of PMR HDDs as a percentage of its shipments by year end.

“Seagate is the world’s leading supplier of perpendicular recording technology, with an expected 75% of its shipments of this type by year end 2007,” said Krishna Chander, senior analyst of storage systems at iSuppli Corp.

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.

Seagate is the only hard drive maker to deliver perpendicular recording technology across desktop, notebook, enterprise, consumer electronics and retail hard drives.

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