An increase in recording densities leads to notebook and desktop computers with higher storage capacities, usually for only a slight increase in price.
Exisiting 2.5in hard discs can store around 30Gbytes per disc platter. When Fujitsu commercialises its disc head technology in two to four years' time, it will lead to capacities of 180Gbytes per platter, six times current capacities, Fujitsu said in a statement.
The breakthrough technology is known as Current-Perpendicular-to-Plane mode Giant Magneto-Resistive (CPP-GMR) heads, which are more sensitive to signals and can read and write data bits three times more compactly than existing GMR heads, which are characterised as Current-in-Plane mode.
Fujitsu expects to produce drives based on CPP-GMR heads within two years for use in PCs and notebook computers, and particularly in the expected boom market for disc-drive-based consumer electronics products such as game consoles and personal video recorders (PVRs).
The high capacity of 2.5in hard disc drives will, eventually, make the bulkier 3.5in desktop drive form factor obsolete, Fujitsu said.
Disc storage capacity has improved even faster than processing power over the past decade, according to the International Disc Drive Equipment Manufacturers Association (IDEMA).
But manufacturers have found it hard to turn their technical expertise into profit. The price of hard disc storage has fallen from $11.54 (£7.89) per megabyte in 1988 to one cent per megabyte today, and the number of independent manufacturers has dropped from 75 to 13, IDEMA said.