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Toshiba Displays PMR Technology

Toshiba, which will display three sub-3-inch hard drives for use in the portable and automotive markets at International CES this week, firmed up its plans to spread its Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR) technology throughout the company’s hard drive lines.

This year, Toshiba will incorporate its PMR technology into its 2.5-inch, 1.8-inch and 0.8-inch hard drives. PMR enables more data to be packed onto a hard-drive platter by realigning how the bits of data are stored. Using PMR, data density is almost doubled to 206MB per millimeter, the company said.

“Conventional longitudinal recording stores data on a magnetic disk as microscopic magnet bits aligned in plane. Although advances in magnetic coatings continue to improve data recording densities on HDD, when the densities become too extreme, the magnetic bits repulse each other due to in-plane alignment. By standing the magnetic bits on end, perpendicular recording reinforces magnetic coupling between neighboring bits, achieving higher and more stable recording densities and improved storage capacity,” Toshiba stated when the original PMR device was introduced last August.

One of the newest PMR-equipped drives, the 80 GB MK8007GAH 1.8-inch drive, has just started shipping in the Toshiba Gigabeat portable music player.

Shipping this month in products like the Micro Hard Drive is Toshiba’s 4GB, 0.8-inch disk. This drive, which does not yet use PMR technology, is geared for use in PDAs, portable music players and digital cameras. It is the smallest drive Toshiba makes.

For the auto industry Toshiba has started shipping samples of the MK4063GAC. This is a 40GB drive based on 2.5-inch platters. It is Toshiba’s fifth-generation automotive drive and is hardened to absorb shock and temperature extremes between -22 degrees to 185 degrees. Toshiba expects it to appear in automotive products by the end of 2006.