News and commentary about the Great Frontiers

ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) --- This view of Earth's horizon as the sunsets over the Pacific Ocean was taken by an Expedition 7 crewmember onboard the International Space Station (ISS). Anvil tops of thunderclouds are also visible. Credit: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

Image Credit: ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) – Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

Small Size, G(o)B(s) of Storage


The hard drive in the latest iPod mini from Apple currently holds six gigabytes (GB) of data. The largest hard drive available for desktop computers is now 500GB. Hitachi Global Storage Technologies announced today that new technology will allow them to create a 20GB hard drive for the iPod mini and a one terabyte (TB) hard drive for desktop computers, by 2007 (just two years from now). The technology, called “perpendicular recording“, will eventually pack 230 gigabits of data per square inch of media. Compare that to current “longitudinal recording” technology that will soon top out at a data density of 120 gigabits per square inch.

All those bits and bytes may be confusing. There are 8 bits in one byte. The more bytes you have, the more data you can store. Blu-Ray Disc media set to replace DVDs beginning at the end of this year will store about 50GB per disc, or four hours of high definition video. With the 1TB hard drive enabled by perpendicular recording, a consumer-level camcorder is on the horizon for shooting approximately 80 hours of weddings, birthday parties, and inappropriate adult activity in high definition.

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