Fujitsu to sell 200GB notebook hard disks in 2007

Perpendicular storage almost doubles noteboook capacity

Fujitsu is planning to sell 2.5-inch hard disk drives with a capacity of 200GB in the first half of 2007, the company says.

The disks, intended for use in notebook PCs, will consist of two disk platters that will store up to 100GB each, for a total of up to 200GB. The largest capacity 2.5-inch drives the company currently sells store 120GB, according to Fred Hirose, a spokesman for Fujitsu.

The higher capacity will be achieved through the use of perpendicular recording technology in the new disks, Fujitsu says.

Perpendicular recording is a method of storing information using magnetic fields to represent each bit. In disks that are commercially available today, the bits, or magnetic fields, lay flat on the disk surface. In drives using perpendicular recording, the bits stand upright. Because they take less space, more bits can be packed on the disk, and so more recording capacity is available.

How many bits can be crammed in a certain amount of space is called areal density and this expressed in bits per square inch. Fujitsu's disks using perpendicular technology will have areal densities of around 150Gb per square inch, the company said. Its current 2.5-inch notebook drives have an areal density of 105Gb per square inch, Hirose says.

Fujitsu is the fourth major hard disk maker to have announced plans to sell drives using perpendicular technology. Toshiba said late last year that it will start selling 1.8-inch drives using the technology in the middle of this year. This April, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies said it was testing a 100GB, 2.5 inch drive, and Seagate Technology said it would start selling drives using the new technology later this year.

In 2004, Fujitsu had 22.5% of the global market for 2.5-inch drives, behind Hitachi with 43.8% and Toshiba with 25.7%, according to market researcher IDC. Seagate managed 5.8% while Samsung weighed in with 2.0% and Western Digital rounding out the group with 0.2% of revenue for the calendar year.

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