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Hitachi Microdrive packs in a world

Calcutta, Nov. 30: Small is big. You can now store a full-length DVD movie or 75 hours of high-quality digital music into a hard disk that is the size of a matchbox and weighs around 16 grams or just over half an ounce.

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST), the company that took over IBM’s data storage business in December last year, has squeezed a capacity of four gigabytes (GB) in a one-inch Microdrive, making it the world’s smallest hard disk. Hitachi has 70 per cent stake in Hitachi Global Storage.

“The new drive uses miniaturised components, including a new read-write head that is almost the size of a grain of table salt. The density of the hard disk has been increased to accommodate 60 billion bits of data per square inch,” company officials said.

The new product will benefit manufacturers of portable devices, handheld and laptop computers, digital still and video cameras and MP3 players and other products that are data-intensive.

It is expected to broaden the variety and complexity of applications that can be run on handheld and other consumer electronic devices.

Consumer product manufacturers who are evaluating the product include Blaupunkt, Kodak, Minolta, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax Corporation, Sigma and Sony. Many of these companies already support Hitachi’s present range of Microdrive.

Hitachi offers the Microdrive with capabilities ranging from 340MB to one GB.

Hitachi has used the IBM patented ‘Pixie Dust’ media technology, which involves taking a three-atom-thick layer of ruthenium, a metal similar to platinum, and sandwiching it between three magnetic layers.

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