SAN FRANCISCO—Maximum areal densities in hard disk drives (HDD) are expected to more than double during the five-year period from 2011 to 2016, spurring continued growth for HDDs in storage-intensive applications such as video and audio systems, according to a report by market research firm IHS iSuppli.
HDD areal densities measuring data-storage capacities are projected to climb to a maximum 1,800 gigabits (Gb) per square inch per platter by 2016, up from 744 Gb per square inch in 2011, according to IHS. The firm forecasts that the five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for HDD areal densities from 2011 to 2016 will be equivalent to 19 percent. For this year, HDD areal densities are estimated to reach 780 Gb per square inch per platter, and then rise to 900 Gb per square inch next year, IHS said.
"The rise in areal density will pave the way for continued growth of the HDD industry," said Fang Zhang, analyst for storage systems at IHS, in a statement. "Densities will double during the next five years, despite technical difficulties associated with the perpendicular magnetic recording technology now used to create higher-areal-density hard disks. In particular, growth opportunities will lie in applications associated with mass enterprise storage requirements, gaming, and in digital video recorders where massive capacity is required to store high-definition video."
Areal density is the amount of data that can be physically stored in a given amount of space on a platter inside an HDD. This measure of density is distinct from actual HDD capacity because HDDs commonly use multiple platters.
Higher areal densities mean that data can be packed more tightly onto the surface of a disk, resulting in overall greater storage capacity. Areal density equals bit density, or bits of information per inch of a track, multiplied by tracks per inch on a platter.