Tag Archives: hard drive

The 16TB Samsung PM1633a SSD. Image: Golem.de

World’s largest storage device: a 16 TB SSD that’s 60% larger than closest competitor

In a leap of innovation, Samsung unveiled its largest storage unit ever: a 15.36TB flash drive which uses  256GB NAND flash as the basis for the storage. The hard drive is 60% bigger than its closest competitor and all that storage is packed inside a tiny 2.5-inch SSD case – and yes, I prefer to still call it a hard drive even though there aren’t any motors, pivots or arms. Deal with it.

The 16TB Samsung PM1633a SSD. Image: Golem.de

The 16TB Samsung PM1633a SSD. Image: Golem.de

So, the hard drive is called  PM1633a, an unfitting name for such a sexy gear. At the Flash Memory Summit in California, though, Samsung referred to its product as JBOF, for “just a bunch of flash. At the convention, the HDD was stacked in 48 other units inside a server. Combined the server can store 770 TBs which is quite a bit more than most server can handle over the same surface area. What’s JBOF’s secret? Details are very sketchy at this point, but Ars Technica reports the Korean researchers were able to increase storage capacity considerably by stacking transistors vertically. How in the world they’ve managed to solve heating issues and cram all those transistors in 2.5-inch case is beyond me at this point.

Now word on the price yet, but considering a 1TB enterprise SSD costs around $1,000 you can expect the price tag to be quite hefty.

The future's fingerprint: organised structures for denser hard drives. Image: University of Texas at Austin

Self-assembling polymer increases HDD memory capacity by a factor of five

Data storage has reached great heights in the past two decades. You can now fit in a typical PC hard-drive thousands of CDs and millions of floppy disks (who else remembers these?). However, magnetic hard drive developers have almost reached the physical limit to where they can cram up data. Researchers at University of Texas at Austin  used a novel technique that makes use of self-assembling polymers to create the smallest magnetic dots in the world. Their results show that hard disk storage can be increased by a factor of five.

The future's fingerprint: organised structures for denser hard drives. Image: University of Texas at Austin

The future’s fingerprint: organised structures for denser hard drives. Image: University of Texas at Austin

Magnetic hard drives store information by inscribing  zeros and ones as magnetic dots on a continuous metal surface. The closer you position these dots from one another, the more information you can cram inside. However, there’s little room developers can move nowadays as the maximum density of dots has almost been reached. Any closer positioning would cause the dots to become unstable from their neighbors’ magnetic field.

“The industry is now at about a terabit of information per square inch,” said Willson, who co-authored the Science paper with chemical engineering professor Christopher Ellison and a team of graduate and undergraduate students. “If we moved the dots much closer together with the current method, they would begin to flip spontaneously now and then, and the archival properties of hard disk drives would be lost. Then you’re in a world of trouble. Can you imagine if one day your bank account info just changed spontaneously?”

There’s a work around, however. If you can isolate each individual dot from another, then you can bypass the magnetic field issue and increase the dot density, and in turn storage. This is where the scientists worked their magic after they used the  directed self-assembly (DSA) – a method pioneered by University of Wisconsin and MIT.

“I am kind of amazed that our students have been able to do what they’ve done,” said Willson. “When we started, for instance, I was hoping that we could get the processing time under 48 hours. We’re now down to about 30 seconds. I’m not even sure how it is possible to do it that fast. It doesn’t seem reasonable, but once in a while you get lucky.

Previous attempts have rendered dot density just enough to double the storage density of disk drives. That’s pretty impressive, but Ellison and co. when way higher. They’ve synthesized block copolymers that self-assemble into the smallest dots in the world — 9 nanometers or just about the size of protein. These were attached to a guided surface which had dots and lines etched on it. While the polymers were self-assembling into position, a special top coat that goes over the block copolymers was introduced. This top coat allows the polymers to achieve the right orientation relative to the plane of the surface simply by heating.

“The patterns of super small dots can now self-assemble in vertical or perpendicular patterns at smaller dimensions than ever before,” said Thomas Albrecht, manager of patterned media technology at HGST. “That makes them easier to etch into the surface of a master plate for nanoimprinting, which is exactly what we need to make patterned media for higher capacity disk drives.”

Now Ellison and his team of graduate students are working together with HGST to see how this process can be implemented in the current manufacturing processes. Their findings were reported in the journal Science.

Is this the farthest we can go with magnetic storage? Well, I wouldn’t worry too much about it, if I were you. Solid State Drives are the next generation of storage mediums, though next generation might not be the best word here since they’ve been commercially available for years, but only recently started to pick up with the public.

Solid state drives are made from silicon microchips and store data electronically instead of magnetically, as spinning hard disk drives or magnetic oxide tape do. Thy’re faster, lighter and a lot more reliable than magnetic hard drives, the only impediment is that they’re currently roughly four times as expensive, but like all things in tech they’ll become reasonable enough for the general public in no time. Say goodbye to your HDD.

Smallest Storage Device in the World to Revolutionize Computing Developed

Miniaturization seems to be the buzzword of the 21st century in this global village.

Thanks to the genius of German and American scientists who have pioneered a revolutionary technique that could be used to develop a new class of hard disk drives with nanomaterials which could store larger amounts of information in a tiny space and at the same time consume lesser energy in computing.

“It could take a few more years before the technique leads to new consumer goods. But once perfected, this method could lead to new types of nanomaterials able to store large amounts of information in tiny spaces, and to consume less energy while doing it,” the researchers claimed.

The researchers in Hamburg and California have built the smallest magnetic storage device in the world, signaling a potential breakthrough for computing.

In a paper published Thursday in the journal ‘Science’, researchers from the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Hamburg in Germany and an IBM research lab in California demonstrated how they could store a bit, the smallest possible piece of digital information, in a set of 12 atoms.

Normally a bit, either a one or zero, in computer terminology, would require about one million atoms in one of today’s smallest silicon-based storage devices. However, In the new technique, only two rows of six iron atoms on a surface of copper nitride are needed.

“We have built up atom-by-atom data storage,” said Andreas Heinrich, manager of the IBM laboratories in Almaden, California, in an interview with Germany’s Deutsche Welle.

Deutsche Welle is Germany’s international broadcaster that produces television, radio and online content in 30 languages. It provides a European perspective to its global audience and promotes intercultural dialogue.

Instead of using normal Ferromagnets made of iron, nickel or cobalt, the new method relies on anti-ferromagnets, which repel those same elements, granting them various magnetic orientations.

Traditionally, the ferromagnetic approach creates a magnetic field which limits how small a device can be shrunk.

But without the presence of this field, the sets of atoms can be configured in any way without such interference, explained Sebastian Loth, a physicist at the Max Planck Department for Structural Dynamics in Hamburg and a researcher at the IBM research lab in California.

“This new memory principle has the potential to revolutionize the computer technology,” he said.

The new result has already impressed other physicists.

“Current magnetic memory architectures are fundamentally limited in how small they can go,” said Will Branford, a physicist at Imperial College London, in an interview with the BBC.

“This work shows that, in principle, data can be stored much more densely using antiferromagnetic bits.”

However, the researchers note that this is just a very early step in creating smaller memory chips.

For the moment, this 12-atom array is only stable at a temperate of -268 degrees Celsius, near absolute zero. Loth said that at the moment the method would need a setup of about 150-200 atoms per bit of information to make it work at room temperature.

“It’s as if we’ve opened a new door into the next room,” Heinrich added. //EOM//