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Seagate today demonstrated technology capable of banging 100Gb of data onto a square inch of storage media. This means the company will be able to cram 125 gigabytes of capacity onto a single 3.5-inch drive platter, compared to current products shipping with 40 gigabytes.

Seagate's demonstration uses a fully integrated magnetic recording head and multi-layer AFC disc. (See the technical specifications here.) The company has not specified a production timetable or pricing.

Fujitsu made its 100Gb per square inch announcement in August, which it said will allow 110GB platters.

In May, IBM said that it would only reach the 100Gb per square inch mark by 2003. In the release at the time, it said the 100-gigabit milestone was once thought to be unattainable due to technical complications; IBM solved the problem with the introduction of Antiferromagnetically-coupled (AFC) media. This deploys an element called Ruthenium (whimsically dubbed "pixie dust" by IBM) sandwiched between two layers, to squeeze out much greater areal densities.

What's shipping today

IBM's recent 120GXP hard drive shipped with three 40GB platters, making it one of the last major vendors reach this plateau, says StorageReview.com.

Western Digital also has a three-platter 120GB drive, its new WD1200BB Caviar.

What's next?
Canon says it has a material capable of holding up to 500Gb per square inch.
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