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Toshiba's hard drive breakthough could herald mega-capacity drives

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Toshiba said Wednesday that it had made a breakthrough in hard disk design that will allow hard drives to have much higher capacities than what is currently possible today. The research is in something called bit-patterned media, a magnetic storage technology.

The recording surface is broken up into tiny magnetic bits, each of which can hold a single bit of data. The bits are made up of several grains, which are organized in rows. This organization is what makes it possible for data to be found easily.

Current technologies require the data to be spread across a broader section of the disk, requiring hundreds of magnetic grains to store bits of data. However this technology is reaching its upper limits, requiring drive manufacturers to look for new ways to store data.

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