Feeds

Boffins discover upper limit of HD write speed

Magnetic pulse ceiling

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Boffins at Stanford had interesting news for storage companies this week, as they announced the discovery of the upper speed limit at which data can be written to a hard drive.

The short term impact should be negligible, however. Companies are unlikely to reach the limit any time soon as it is at around 1000 times the current write-speeds, and requires a linear accelerator. (At 3.2km long, this won’t easily fit in a desktop, and could have serious implications for power consumption.)

Nonetheless, the team at Stanford was looking into the physics of magnetic data storage, and in the time-honoured tradition of lab rats everywhere, they just had to find out how fast they could get it to go.

Writing data to disk involves magnetising teeny bits of the surface with an electromagnetic pulse; the spin of the magnetisation represents the 0 or 1. Faster write-speeds need a strong field to be applied for a really short period. At which point, the linear accelerator really comes into its own.

The team fired electrons down Stanford University’s 3.2km linear accelerator, generating a staccato string of very short magnetic field pulses aimed at a magnetic target. At 2.3 pico seconds, each pulse is noticeably shorter than blink-and-you’ll-miss-it fast, and the field strength of 10 Tesla is around 200,000 times that of the Earth’s own magnetic field.

What the team discovered is that if you pulse too fast, you’ll end up with random magnetic changes, and gobbledegook stored on your hard drive.

Why this should happen is something of a mystery. Team leader Joachim Stör suggests that there may be some kind of thermal disruption at such high frequencies.

The results of the experiment are published in Wednesday’s edition of Nature. ®

Related stories

Capacity ain't everything, says Hitachi
Aussie boffins discover fifth form of carbon
CERN celebrates 50th birthday

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Wanna keep your data for 1,000 YEARS? No? Hard luck, HDS wants you to anyway
Combine Blu-ray and M-DISC and you get this monster
US boffins demo 'twisted radio' mux
OAM takes wireless signals to 32 Gbps
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper
Stand down, FTC... you can put your feet up for a bit
Apple flops out 2FA for iCloud in bid to stop future nude selfie leaks
Millions of 4chan users howl with laughter as Cupertino slams stable door
Students playing with impressive racks? Yes, it's cluster comp time
The most comprehensive coverage the world has ever seen. Ever
Run little spreadsheet, run! IBM's Watson is coming to gobble you up
Big Blue's big super's big appetite for big data in big clouds for big analytics
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.