David Kirkpatrick

May 28, 2010

Seagate’s hybrid hard drive

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:16 am

Combines a standard spinning platter drive (HDD) in 250, 320 or 500 gigabyte versions with four gigs of single-level cell (read: robust) Flash memory. Right now these are just about doubling the cost of standard drives with similar capacity.

The result is a combined drive that approaches the performance of solid state drives, but at a fraction of the price. According to Seagate’s own tests, the Momentus XT is 80% faster than a traditional notebook hard drive, and 20% faster than an ultra high-performance 10,000 RPM HDD.

The speed boost is due almost entirely to the drive’s Adaptive Memory algorithm, which learns which applications and files a user accesses most, and dumps those in the 4 GB of flash memory. Flash has 150 times the access speed of a traditional hard drive, but only 2 times the read/write bandwidth.

The technique of balancing a cache of expensive flash memory, which is great at randomly accessing many small files, with a large hard drive, which is many times cheaper per gigabyte and is good at reading and writing large files, mirrors a similar approach currently being explored in the data center.

Seagate’s hybrid drive. Credit: Seagate.

Here are Amazon links to the 250 GB version, the 320 GB version and the 500 GB version of the Seagate Momentus XT.

August 14, 2008

Smaller electronics, larger hard drives

A new manufacturing approach in creating patterned templates should lead to improvements in hard drive technology and electronic devices. The key to the process is self-assembling materials called block copolymers combined with traditional lithography techniques.

From the link:

The block copolymers pattern the resulting array down to the molecular level, offering a precision unattainable by traditional lithography-based methods alone and even correcting irregularities in the underlying chemical pattern. Such nanoscale control also allows the researchers to create higher-resolution arrays capable of holding more information than those produced today.

In addition, the self-assembling block copolymers only need one-fourth as much patterning information as traditional materials to form the desired molecular architecture, making the process more efficient, Nealey says. “If you only have to pattern every fourth spot, you can write those patterns at a fraction of the time and expense,” he says.

In addition to shared intellectual contributions, the collaboration between the UW-Madison and Hitachi teams provided very clear objectives about creating a technology that is industrially viable. “This research addresses one of the most significant challenges to delivering patterned media — the mass production of patterned disks in high volume, at a reasonable cost,” says Richard New, director of research at Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. “The large potential gains in density offered by patterned media make it one of the most promising new technologies on the horizon for future hard disk drives.”

courtesy Paul Nealey

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Hitachi Global Storage Technologies have reported a way to improve the quality and resolution of patterned templates such as those used to manufacture hard drives and other data storage devices. When added to lithographically patterned surfaces such as those shown in the upper left panel of this composite image, specially designed materials called block copolymers self-assemble into structures, shown in the upper right panel, with improved quality and resolution over the original patterns. These structures can be used to make templates with nanoscale elements like the silicon pillars shown in the bottom panel, which may be useful for manufacturing higher capacity hard disk drives. Photo by: courtesy Paul Nealey

July 11, 2008

Latest breakthroughs — stem cells, solar and hard drives

Here’s a more traditional (for this blog) posting from KurzweilAI.net — a stem cell breakthrough, solar energy harvesting breakthrough, and another breakthrough (see a theme here) in hard drive capacity.

New Technique Harvests Stem Cells at Earlier Stage
HealthDay News, July 9, 2008

Researchers at Vrije Universiteit Brussel have derived human embryonic stem cells (hESC) earlier in the development stage of a blastomere (when it only has four cells), so the whole embryo is not destroyed.

Previously, scientists were able to derive hESC lines at the 8-cell stage, but that methodhad variable success rates and required the cells to be cultured with established hESCs. The new method doesn’t require a co-culture.

The development could make stem cell researcheasier to conduct by not raising as many ethical concerns. It could also change pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), by enabling the biopsy of one cell from a 4-cell stage embryo. This would let the remaining three cells grow into a blastocyst (five-day embryo) that could be implanted into the uterus and develop into a healthy baby. Currently GPD is performed at the 8-cell stage.

See Also Stem cell breakthrough leaves embryos unharmed

 
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Organic dye lets window panes harvest the Sun
New Scientist news service, July 10, 2008

MIT electrical engineer Marc Baldo had developed a method to turn up to 20% of incident light into electricity at a fraction of the cost of conventional photovoltaic cells.

Exotic organic dyes are coated onto an ordinary sheet of glass, trapping light inside the glass and allowing it to be channelled to photovoltaic cells placed along the edges of the sheet. The dyes can absorb light across the visible spectrum and emit it at the longer frequencies needed for optimal conversion.

 
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Seagate’s Latest Desktop HDD Has 1.5TB Capacity
Hot Hardware, July 10, 2008

Seagate announced Thursday three new consumer-level hard drives today, which it claims are the “industry’s first 1.5-terabyte desktop and half-terabyte notebook hard drives.”

The company claims that it is able to greatly increase the areal density of its drive substrates by using perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) technology.

 
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