I try not to pay much attention to hard drives these days, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. And two things have happened this week on that front.
Samsung announced today that they’ve managed to stuff a terabyte onto a single platter. Since the highest capacity drives generally have four platters–most companies are nervous about five-platter drives–Samsung can do a 4 TB drive, easily. And, all other things being equal, Samsung’s increased platter density means their drives will be faster performers until the other makers catch up. Granted, they probably will. It’s just Samsung happens to be the first one to this particular milestone. And yet there are a lot of people who don’t even know that Samsung makes hard drives.
So you can expect both cheaper 1 TB drives, and higher capacity drives at the top of the chain.
And speaking of manufacturers, now there is one fewer. Yesterday, Western Digital announced that it’s buying Hitachi’s disk operations. Western Digital plus Hitachi will make the largest disk manufacturer, in terms of volume, in the world. Seagate drops to #2. I don’t know where Samsung ranked, but they take #3 by default. I believe Toshiba–who only make notebook drives–and Fujitsu–who only make enterprise drives–battle it out for the last two spots. Since they’re niche players, they’re easy to overlook. I don’t even know for certain if Fujitsu is making enterprise drives anymore, though I’ve never heard anything saying otherwise. I still see plenty of Fujitsu drives in servers, but that could just be because their enterprise drives lasted forever. Their desktop drives weren’t bad either, except for that one batch of bad Cirrus Logic chips that ruined their reputation and their business…