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 Post subject: Metal Foil Disk Drives
PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 6:09 pm 
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I've just seen http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/2006/pulpit_20061026_001143.html.

The idea: replace the platters of hard drives with something much lighter. You get smaller motors and lower power requirements (70-95% less), faster spin-up, faster maximum speeds, more platters per drive and so greater capacity, much better shock-resistance, and lower cost (for given capacity and speed.)

The claim is these will be available in about a year under well-known brand names.

There is also a claim that "disk storage is responsible for consuming 30 percent of the energy in your PC and up to 50 percent of the energy in a data center", which seems on the high side compared to my imperfect memory - typical 10W for an active HD, 60W for an idling computer.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 6:16 pm 
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P.S. This looks to be the patent: http://www.freepatentsonline.com/5968627.html

This is the only other information I've found about this online so far.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 10:05 pm 
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Location: Somewhere over the rainbow....
*drool*

would this reduce vibrations too? (smaller mass/more forgiving)

here's to hoping Samsung, WD, and Seagate get them out first ;)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 4:31 am 
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Sounds pretty awesome. It's one of those I can't believe they didn't already think of that kind of things.

I'd imagine it has less vibrations as well, less mass means less inertia which means less force at the same speed which means less vibrations.

I wonder what the life is like...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 9:50 am 
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What does this do to durability and reliablility?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 9:56 am 
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Thanks for the post, Filias Cupio. This is worthy of front page news. ;)

The article says about reliability & durability: "The nature of our drives is such that they are very resistant -- almost immune -- to shock damage, making head crashes a non-event because the flexible metal foil yields to the head, pushed away by a layer of compressed air, rather than being struck by it."

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Last edited by MikeC on Tue Oct 31, 2006 5:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:12 am 
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If all the claims about this tech are true, then this will soon become the dominant platter material, and for SPCR purposes, hard drives that use substantially less power, so run cooler, so do not require active cooling=less noise.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:39 am 
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With that much lower mass, vibration could also drop so low as to obviate the need for suspension. :shock:

We'll see. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Metal Foil Disk Drives
PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 12:03 pm 
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Filias Cupio wrote:
There is also a claim that "disk storage is responsible for consuming 30 percent of the energy in your PC...
This is unfeasibly high, you’re only going to get close to this figure if you are using an ultra low power desktop system with a desktop drive, not exactly a common setup.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 2:34 pm 
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The column/blog I originally pointed too has lots of comments, some of which make what look to me to be well grounded objections to some of the claims. I think we need to be skeptical on this for a while yet.

Although I'm not an expert, I would think that for a technology a year away from commercial release, there should be working prototypes - but there was no mention of this.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 3:53 pm 
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Here's some early feedback...

Seagate wrote:
There are a number of issues/problems with this proposed technology and it's not one that Seagate is pursuing or will pursue. Big issues with reliability, access rates as well as areal densities (densities more difficult to achieve on foil vs. glass substrate) and costs (cost of multiple heads expensive). Based on the information I received, there's no real story here to tell unfortunately.


WD wrote:
Interesting article. However, WD has no comment on it.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 5:19 pm 
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Lets reinvent the floppy/bernouli/sygate drive :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 12:25 am 
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MEMS storage http://www.pdl.cmu.edu/MEMS/index.html has been in the works for quite a long time (at least since 1998), however it seems that it is still far from production.

Solutions bases on MEMS would be even better for most scenarios, but there seems to be little progress.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 2:53 am 
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It's not a hard drive, but surely the Holographic Versatile Disc has some relevance here? After all, virtually all kinds of non-volatile mass storage involve spinning discs of one kind of another.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 2:26 pm 
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Very interesting, but I tend to be somewhat skeptical as well. If this technology is supposed to be available in a year, I am kind of surprised this is the first we've heard about it.

An interesting comment about Seagate from Cringely.

Quote:
We aren't aware of the manufacturers behind MFD, but Cringely mentions that Seagate hopes it dies.

Presumably, Seagate isn't one such manufacturer.


Source

So no surprise that Seagate doesn't have anything positive to say, kind of surprised WD didn't either, though. Makes me even more skeptical. Who does that leave, Samsung and Hitachi? Samsung has invested a lot into flash, and from the sounds of it this tech could give flash a run for it's money, so one would tend to think they would not be for it. So maybe Hitachi??

Mike, please keep us up to date on what HDD manufacturers have to say about this. Who all have you contacted so far?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 3:25 pm 
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Looks like the sort of thing that would appeal to Iomega for Fujitsu.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 2:00 am 
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Either way, posting this on your blog site is a good way to do a feasability study!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 3:15 am 
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frostedflakes wrote:
So no surprise that Seagate doesn't have anything positive to say, kind of surprised WD didn't either, though.


Well, I suppose it depends what you read into WD's "No Comment".

If they were the company who was working on the technology they might want to keep it quiet to avoid Osborning any of their own products.

It would be good if this technology does come to fruition but as usual I'm guessing that we won't see anything for a couple of years as opposed to just one year. There are always delays with new technology!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 5:43 pm 
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Well and when it finally hits market, it's going to cost a lot. I mean with all theses claimed advantages, who would not try to capitalize them?


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