How Heat Assisted Storage Will Give You 10 Times More Hard Drive Space


how-hard-disk-worksShort Bytes: Using a technique called heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR), researchers have found a way to store more data on a hard disk. If you want to understand the working of traditional HDDs, you need to know how data entry takes place on a hard disk. Read more and know more about HAMR technology and how it’s capable of storing more data.

Before we begin with the HAMR technology can accommodate more data per square inch, we should know how data entry works on a hard disk.

So, let’s glance through the data entry mechanism on a hard disk in brief:

  • A computer writes data in binary code i.e. ‘1’ or ‘0’.
  • The permutation and combination of these states are responsible for storing data in a hard disk. Either of the binary code is called a bit.
  • Now, the computer learns about the binary code and controls information entry by detecting whether tiny regions of the disk are magnetized or not.
  • If a tiny grain of the hard disk is magnetized, that either represents high state i.e. ‘1’ or low state i.e. ‘0’.

If we take a deeper look, physics works behind it. There are also other factors which need to be taken care of. Some of those limiting factors are:

  • Magnetic interference
  • Magnetic field
  • Writing precision
  • Drift etc.

A magnetic grain over a hard disk ranges from micrometer to nanometers depending upon the hard disk capacity. In short, it can be referred that the smaller the magnetic grain size for storing data, the larger volume of data a hard disk can store. And that’s where researchers are trying to hit the jackpot as large as ten times using a process known as heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR).

One of the major limitations of reducing the size of the magnetic grain on a hard disk is if magnetic grains are too small in size that will cause the surrounding grains magnetic field to drift and thus destroy the files saved on disk. But the good news is that there’s magnetic material that’s more resistant to this drift, but it’s also harder to write and requires a bigger magnetic field to store data, which in turn causes more interference. But, a new laser technique has been developed which can help.

  • The new material which is more resistant to the magnetic drift needs bigger magnetic field to store data
  • Bigger magnetic field causes more interference
  • To reduce the magnetic interference, the nanomagnetic grains will be treated with heat
  • Treating with heat will reduce the magnetic interference size
  • Using the specialized laser, it would be possible then to write data

It can squeeze up to 13.23 terabits of data per square inch whereas the best hard drives in the market store 1.34 terabits of data per square inch. However, this technique is still a research technique and it will take some time to come commercially in the market. So, in the meantime, you can go for the hard disks and solid state drives available around.

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Amar Shekhar

Amar Shekhar

A passionate adventure traveller over and Author of the book 'The Girl from the Woods'.
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