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PC drives predicted to reach 600Gbytes by 2007

The standard desktop PC of 2007 will have a hard disc drive with capacity between 500Gbytes and 600Gbytes, predicts Mark Geenen,...

The standard desktop PC of 2007 will have a hard disc drive with capacity between 500Gbytes and 600Gbytes, predicts Mark Geenen, managing director of research company TrendFocus.

Notebook computers will be fitted with 300Gbyte drives and small drives which can be used in mobile phones and PDAs will be able to store around 20Gbytes, he added.

Geenen said there were no serious competitors to existing hard disc technology for cost-effective data storage.

"The long-term demandis there and this is a historic opportunity for our industry," he added. "The industry is poised for very impressive growth over the next few years."

Optical storage has been around a long time without making any major impact and flash memory is still too expensive, according to Geenen. Other storage technologies are yet to be commercialised. Heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) systems will not be available until 2006 and millipede systems until 2007 or 2008, Geenen said.

 The most immediate advance in storage technology is the move to perpendicular storage of data on hard discs, which will begin to appear later this year.

 Perpendicular storage is an evolutionary technology which can be produced using existing production lines. It can provide storage capacities of up to 1T-bit per square inch, which is equivalent to storing 1Tbyte on a single 3.5-inch disc platter and almost 10 times as much as today's standard longitudinal storage systems.

The disc drive industry will deliver more than 300 million hard drives of all kinds in 2004, 16% up on the 261 million drives shipped in 2003, Geenen said.

David Legard writes for IDG News Service

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