Hard drive densities doubling by 2016

Maximum areal densities in hard disk drives (HDD) are expected to more than double during the five-year period from 2011 to 2016, spurring continued growth for HDDs in storage-intensive applications such as video and audio systems, according to IHS iSuppli.

HDD areal densities measuring data-storage capacities are projected to climb to a maximum 1,800 Gigabits (Gb) per square inch per platter by 2016, up from 744 Gb per square inch in 2011, as shown in the figure attached. This means that from 2011 to 2016, the five-year compound annual growth rate for HDD areal densities will be equivalent to 19 per cent. For this year, HDD areal densities are estimated to reach 780Gb per square inch per platter, and then rise to 900Gb per square inch next year.

“The rise in areal density will pave the way for continued growth of the HDD industry,” said Fang Zhang, analyst for storage systems at IHS. “Densities will double during the next five years, despite technical difficulties associated with the perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) technology now used to create higher-areal-density hard disks. In particular, growth opportunities will lie in applications associated with mass enterprise storage requirements, gaming, and in digital video recorders where massive capacity is required to store high-definition video.”

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