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Toshiba Boosts Hard Drive Density By 50%

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the now-how-we-gonna-back-that-sucker-up dept.

Data Storage 129

An anonymous reader writes "Toshiba has unveiled a ground-breaking technology that boosts recording density by 50% on an 80-GB, 1.8", single-platter drive. Using what it calls Discrete Track Recording technology, Toshiba was able to pack 120 GB storage on a single 1.8" platter. The new development will hugely benefit media player, UMPC, and ultra-portable laptop segments where 1.8" drives with maximum possible capacity are in great demand."

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well... (2, Interesting)

Macrosoft0 (1128625) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525209)

...they say its easier to add the grooves in small form-factor hdd's, but they didn't say if it can be done at all in a standard sized drive

Re:well... (1)

Clete2 (823221) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525223)

This sounds great -- especially if it can be done to 2.5" drives and 3.5" drives. It sounds like a great way to improve the speed of hard drive reads, seek times, and data capacity.

Re:well... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20525285)

density & capacity aside, i am wondering why don't we have drives with multiple independent R/W heads?

Re:well... (1)

danwat1234 (942579) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525425)

I have wondered that too. If you were to put two servo's on a drive instead of one, it couldn't be on the side next to it (I'm guessing the two servos could touch each other!), but the side opposite and over, but that would cause either the form factor size to change of the entire drive chassis, or the platter diameter would have to shrink in order to make room in the corner for the second servo. I'd like to see it happen, but high capacity has its benefits, because of being able to 'short stroke' it.

Re:well... (4, Insightful)

toddestan (632714) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525671)

I would think that it would be cheaper and easier just to take two standard drives and RAID them for the same effect rather than to build some two servo monstrousity.

Re:well... (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525801)

I've read that this has been done, but it's not cost-effective. I guess that would be because there isn't much demand for this technique, so low production quantities mean high prices. OTOH, I don't think anyone has tried it recently, and it might be worthwhile for some very demanding applications. I suspect in most cases that another 1 Gbyte of RAM would be more effective than cutting seek time from 5 ms to 3 ms.

Multiple read-head drives (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 6 years ago | (#20526609)

I think they used to do this on some very old drives. (Big ones, not 3.5" AFAIK.) Also, when you think about the evolution of hard drives, remember that they came from drum systems where there was one head for every track on the drum, so it wouldn't have been a particularly foreign concept to the guys designing the earliest ones.

IIRC, it's not as effective as you might think it would be at first glance. Although it does help some workloads (ones that are seek-limited), I don't think the improvements were enough to justify the technical complexity, which is fairly significant -- especially when it comes to writing or doing simultaneous read/writes (and I don't know how you'd handle cache). Also, apparently you might run into problems maintaining head alignment between multiple servo/head assemblies working on the same platter [1].

The fact that the drive manufacturers gave up on it, and didn't bring it back out back when people were paying much more for fast storage than they do today (relative to consumer/mass-market equipment), makes me think there must have been multiple levels of 'gotchas' involved.

[1] Someone who sounds more knowledgeable than I responding to a similar question: here [zdnet.com] .

Re:well... (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527517)

It appears that they have to etch something on the platter to get this to work, probably the yield of 3.5" platters isn't worth the cost, since you can't just use multiple platters (3.5" == desktop remember).

Re:well... (1)

Bibz (849958) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527915)

Yes it can.
From TFA : "The DTR "groove" forming process is most easily applied to small form factor HDDs, such as 1.8 inch and 2.5 inch drives."

Old News ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20525231)

"TOKYO, September 6 /CNW/ - Toshiba Corporation today announced ..."

Re:Old News ... (1)

Headcase88 (828620) | more than 6 years ago | (#20526877)

You must be new here.

whenever they talk about hard drive densitiy (4, Funny)

weirdcrashingnoises (1151951) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525239)

i think of this...

George McFly: Lorraine, my density has bought me to you.
Lorraine Baines: What?
George McFly: Oh, what I meant to say was...
Lorraine Baines: Wait a minute, don't I know you from somewhere?
George McFly: Yes. Yes. I'm George, George McFly. I'm your density.

Re:whenever they talk about hard drive densitiy (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527539)

YMB(R)NH (You Must Be (Really) New Here)

The obligatory reference for HD density stories is Perpendicular [hitachigst.com]

Re:whenever they talk about hard drive densitiy (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 6 years ago | (#20529029)

Lonely little bit: "wow, the dance floor just got more crowded all of a sudden".

Speed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20525249)

How does this affect the read/write speeds? Sounds like it could go either way. On the one hand, less distance = less time, but on the other could it also be a more complicated pattern = more time? (Sorry, I'm not really a hardware guy.)

Re:Speed? (2, Informative)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525569)

It will be faster. seek time is a major factor in hard drive speed.

Prolonging a dying technology (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20525273)

I'd rather R&D be put into solid state hard drives (e.g. flash). I can't count how many hard disks I've gone through.

Re:Prolonging a dying technology (1)

simontek2 (523795) | more than 6 years ago | (#20526805)

You do realize currently there is this issue of how many times you can write to flash. right?

Re:Prolonging a dying technology (1)

Headcase88 (828620) | more than 6 years ago | (#20526895)

And if there's one thing that R&D isn't good for, it's improving upon an imperfection.

Re:Prolonging a dying technology (1)

roscocoltran (1014187) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527271)

It's a non-issue when you do the math. A block on a SSD takes years to reach it's RW limit, and when it does, it warns you. The mechanical HD only does "clak.... tictic clak... tictic clak...." and your datas are gone.

Re:Prolonging a dying technology (1)

LBt1st (709520) | more than 6 years ago | (#20529055)

Or if you enable SMART you also get a warning.

Re:Prolonging a dying technology (1)

egomaniac (105476) | more than 6 years ago | (#20528479)

As opposed to hard drives, which never, ever, ever fail. Right?

Damnit... (4, Informative)

feepness (543479) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525299)

Now I have to wait longer for SSD to become the clear winner.

Re:Damnit... (1)

Raineer (1002750) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525383)

Agreed, while this is clearly better technology it's just easy to wish they would put the effort into SSD. No matter how small and dense it is, it's still mechanical which means the same old durability and power consumption.

Re:Damnit... (1)

danwat1234 (942579) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525403)

...and high latency.

Re:Damnit... (1)

danwat1234 (942579) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525387)

Yeah, I guess it will. It could hinder the speed in which SSDs are getting cheaper. That sucks.

Re:Damnit... (4, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525417)

Oh how terrible if SSD has to actually beat the competition, that it didn't just lie down and die when SSDs announced they were taking over. As bulk storage, SSDs are still damn expensive. Think either-or, say an 8GB SSD soldered on the mobo (1.8" form factor is way overkill) with OS/apps and 120GB bulk HDD space on a 1.8" HDD. Sounds good to me, at least until 100GB+ SSDs are cheap and that may take a looong while.

Re:Damnit... (3, Interesting)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525463)

Now I have to wait longer for SSD to become the clear winner.

I've been waiting for well over 10 years. When I first thought that SSD was going to "win", 1 GB drive was huge. Now, it's $9, plugs into a thumb-sized slot in 5 seconds, and is available at the local Wal-Mart. The mechanical drives sport 750 GB for $200 that the 1 GB drive used to cost. (and that doesn't even account for inflation!)

I have a digital camera with video and sound. It's up to 800x600, and with my 2 GB flash cartridge, I get up to about an 30 minutes of video. It's very small, lightweight, and runs on a couple AA rechargables.

Still think that SSD hasn't "won"?

Re:Damnit... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525631)

Exactly. SSDs have their place. They are now and will always be more expensive than mechanical drives. And, actually, $9 is a bit low, the going rate seems to be more like $10-12. And it looks more like $185 for 750 GB these days [pricewatch.com] .

What was that? Don't think $10 is expensive? That's $10 a gigabyte, right? For $185, we get 750GB, which works out to be $0.24 a gigabyte.

And that's why mechanical hard drives remain king.

Re:Damnit... (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525797)

They are now and will always be more expensive than mechanical drives.

Always?

I wouldn't bet on that. At some point, no moving parts has to beat moving parts.

-jcr

Re:Damnit... (2, Insightful)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 6 years ago | (#20526917)


I wouldn't bet on that. At some point, no moving parts has to beat moving parts.


Yeah, like how the Peltier cooler has replaced mechanical refrigerators. Or the thermocouple has replaced mechanical generators and steam in nuclear power plants.

Oh, wait....

Re:Damnit... (1)

LiquidFire_HK (952632) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527831)

Maybe, but no one is carrying their fridge or power plant around all day, like they are their laptop, iPod, etc.

Re:Damnit... (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#20528067)

More like, how core memory replaced the drum.

-jcr

Re:Damnit... (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 6 years ago | (#20526923)

At some point, no moving parts has to beat moving parts.

Yeah that is what I'm beting when I read Slashdot ;D

Re:Damnit... (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525585)

you were always going to have to wait a long time.

yes spinning disks suck, but 100x the cost sucks even MORE. SSD is up there with those holographic drives we keep hearing about that are only 2 years away...

Re:Damnit... (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525839)

No, I think SSD really will win. Over the past 5 years, solid state has doubled in capacity over and over again, while hard drive capacity growth has slowed. The net effect has been tremendous gains for flash memory.

The other trend I see is satisfaction with hard drive sizes. Notice how the blurb for this article only mentioned 1.8" platters, as if capacity was only lacking in small devices? For most people, requirements for storage simply aren't growing. Even Vista is insignificant on a cheap, commonplace 500 GB drive. My PVR PC still has a 160 GB drive, I just can't be bothered to upgrade.

With near 0 access latency and higher reliability, flash doesn't have to beat winchester drives in $$/GB to win. It just has to be big enough and cheap enough, and it's getting there.

Re:Damnit... (1)

Wicko (977078) | more than 6 years ago | (#20526311)

I can't see it winning any time soon. There will always be need for larger capacities, especially with the relatively new HD formats becoming more and more common. I don't really see the two as truly competing, I doubt the capacities will catch up for a long time, perhaps some new format will appear long before then. I can see a lot of systems using SSD or hybrids for their main partition, including an OS (although that would probably kill an SSD much sooner than a contemporary disk), and hybrids/contemporary harddisks as data storage/backup etc.

I agree with you though, the need for larger capacities has most definitely slowed down, but theres some time before HD really becomes a standard. Maybe in a year or two it will be more popular to download a movie (legitimately) to own, and just store it on a hard disk. Or data back up (businesses, etc). Games are much larger and larger now as well, its common to have a game use up 6GB on its own.

Also, I believe that contemporary harddisks actually have faster transfer rates for large files. Also with the life expectancy of an SSD and use for storing temporary files, I can pretty much guarantee you won't see Seagate throwing 5 year warranties on them if they develop them, lol.

I don't think either format will win, if anything I think hybrid disks will become the standard. While storage uses have dropped, people still like hearing the sound of more.

Re:Damnit... (2, Insightful)

Ramble (940291) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527381)

Possibly they'll win one day but at the moment (and this will be true for some time) there is no clear advantage to SSDs. Rubbish storage capacity, similar throughput and expensive as hell. Latency is one of the only things they have going for them.

Re:Damnit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20528935)

You forgot about durability.

Re:Damnit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20528015)

those holographic drives we keep hearing about that are only 2 years away.

What do you mean? I've got one in my flying car.

Re:Damnit... (1)

Compuser (14899) | more than 6 years ago | (#20528983)

I just checked and holographic media is here. Tapestry by Maxell is being sold.
Granted, it will have to come down in price by a factor of 100 for me to consider
buying it and I am in a science lab with serious funding.

Re:Damnit... (3, Informative)

DrMrLordX (559371) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525763)

Just keep your eye on MTRON. They're pushing a lot of SSD harddrives out on the market, albeit at astronomical prices. Still, the performance on their drives is fantastic.

Re:Damnit... (2, Informative)

phillips321 (955784) | more than 6 years ago | (#20528791)

http://www.mtron.net/eng/index.asp# [mtron.net] - Just in case someone needs to investigate, looks pretty good to me

Re:Damnit... (2, Informative)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525785)

So what? It's not as if the advancements in hard drives are now unexpected. They are going to be pushed as hard as possible as long as they are competitive. SSDs are getting larger too, and flash chips are continually dropping in price. I really don't expect a "clear" winner for some time. What is a clear winner in one circumstance is a clear loser in another. I use a couple machines that are running on flash drives, one is a 512MB CF drive, but that's because vibration is a problem because it's running a CNC machine, spinning heavy duty motors, resonance, cutting metal and all, otherwise it ate a drive every three years. I call that a clear winner in that case. For other computers that I use to acquire and store media, flash would be a clear loser, it's far cheaper to mirror and back up than it is to go SSD. I expect that flash drives will displace hard drives more and more.

One thing confuses me about SSD (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 6 years ago | (#20526495)

They're solid state. To me that means that every bit is as close as every other, near enough.

It should be possible to deliver far more bandwidth from an SSD than through magnetic media.

But the best claims I've seen for SSD are about 10MB/sec.

Where's my pen drive that's capable of 480Mbps? Where's the SATA attached SSD capable of 3Gbps?

Re:One thing confuses me about SSD (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527503)

You can make flash as fast as you want. Serial reads are limited by the speed of the individual elements. Flash is typically made as a block device, however, so you can read every bit in a block in parallel. This, however, gets expensive very quickly. You need to double the number of pins and the number of interconnects to each cell in order to double the transfer rate. Since the interface is serial, you will probably need to buffer the reads for a complete block into fast RAM and stream them out, slightly increasing latency.

Re:Damnit... (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#20526865)

Now I have to wait longer for SSD to become the clear winner.

SSD will likely never be the clear winner when we're talking about large storage. Just like HDD didn't replace magnetic tapes for backup in companies, because of their lower capacity and reliability.

You can expect SSD to make a boom (already is anyway) in mobile devices, and HDD's will become all hybrid: with 10-20 GB of SSD and a spinning disk to fill-in the capacity up to say 300-400 GB.

This way, you get the best of both worlds. Your startup and frequently accessed files will load quickly from SSD, and so will many of the last files you accessed, so your mobile disk could spin down most of the day, saving energy, noise, and so on, and spin up later to sync with the SSD inside as necessary (or load a file that's not on the SSD).

---

People like simple things. I still remember the talk about opticals torage replacing HDD, it never happened.

Technology won't get simpler really. It'll only get more complex, but that's for our benefit.

Not capacity, POWER (2)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525319)

80 GB is enough for anyone. Seriously - if you need more than that, in a portable, then the data better be elsewhere - if you lose the portable, you've lost a lot of data.

How about 80 GB, but 50% less power? I want 80 GB in my Zaurus CF slot, that I can use all day.

Oblig. (1)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 6 years ago | (#20526351)

Sure, you could say that now. But just remember, one Bluray disc will be able to hold that amount of data in a few years. Personally, I think it would be sweet to be able to have all three extended editions of Lord of the Rings in HD and 7.1 audio tracks on one device.

Re:Not capacity, POWER (1)

bane2571 (1024309) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527571)

I agree, 640KB truly is enough for anyone

Technological anachronism (3, Funny)

Circlotron (764156) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525347)

Imagine if the humble telephone dial had received this much effort and technology. What would THEY be like now?

Re:Technological anachronism (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525475)

Imagine if the humble telephone dial had received this much effort and technology. What would THEY be like now?

Most likely, all of the possible 1e10 U.S. phone numbers would be encoded as individual nanoscale holes around the dial. You could dial anybody in the country with just a single flip of the wrist.

Re:Technological anachronism (2, Funny)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525933)

Good question. Its been my longstanding dream of building a cell phone with a phone dial and no screen. It would be an old school handset with a dial, and a hook built into the belt holster. Maybe the dial should be on the holster as well. And I would tell everyone my "phone was off the hook", sometimes as a joke, sometimes as an excuse for not picking up the phone. Although, I really don't know how many people would get the joke.

Re:Technological anachronism (1)

Ross D Anderson (1020653) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527415)

You might like this [sparkfun.com] then. Move over iPhone!

Re:Technological anachronism (1)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527239)

It would be voice activated. Like, uh, your mobile can do.

Yeah.

another infomercial (3, Informative)

semiotec (948062) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525361)

1. Samsung had announced their 120 Gb 4200 rpm 1.8" drive a couple of weeks earlier (http://home.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/i ndex.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20070820005213 &newsLang=en), but there's no sign of it available yet.

2. The Toshiba 120 Gb drive, according to PC Watch Impress (http://pc.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/2007/0906/tosh iba.htm) is 3600 rpm with CE-ATA interface, not really suitable for notebooks, even ultra-portable ones.

I'd guess the new iPod Classic uses the Toshiba drive, since it supposedly uses even less power compared to their previous 1.8" drives. But if this is the case, it means I can't just rip it out of the iPod to plug into my laptop, since the interface doesn't appear to be compatible with their previous 1.8" drives.

However, I still hope that at least one of these make it to the retail market. It would be nice to be able to double my current 80 Gb drive.

Re:another infomercial (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20525793)

You don't put 1.8" drives in notebooks, you put them in iPods. 2.5" drives go into notebooks, 3.5" drives go into desktops and servers. (Anything bigger than that has been obsolete for decades.)

You've had plenty of options for huge amounts of storage (200+ GB was the highest I saw recently) in a 2.5" form factor for years now. The only notebooks using a 1.8" drive is going to be some sort of crazy ultraportable, where even a 2.5" drive won't fit.

Re:another infomercial (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525937)

I'm pretty sure that some manufacturers put 1.8" drives into ultraportable laptops and tablets. When you want something physically small that sips power, you put out all the stops.

Re:another infomercial (1)

whimmel (189969) | more than 6 years ago | (#20528779)

When you want something physically small that sips power, you put out all the stops.
Not (just?) to be pedantic, but you pull out all the stops [wikipedia.org] . Thought you might find that interesting.

Re:another infomercial (2, Informative)

semiotec (948062) | more than 6 years ago | (#20526023)

"You don't put 1.8" drives in notebooks, you put them in iPods. 2.5" drives go into notebooks."

Thanks, I'd be sure to pass that onto Toshiba (R200, R400), Sony (TZ series), HP (nc2400, nc2510) and Dell (D420/430) and tell them that they really should listen to some AC on Slashdot.

"some sort of crazy ultraportable"

and that also means they weight 2 lb instead of 5 lb. The last three of my laptops have all been ultraportables, and all together they still weight less than 15" notebooks out there.

Re:another infomercial (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527349)

"AC with good reason: "You don't put 1.8" drives in notebooks, you put them in iPods. 2.5" drives go into notebooks, 3.5" drives go into desktops and servers. (Anything bigger than that has been obsolete for decades.)"

semiotic replies: "Thanks, I'd be sure to pass that onto Toshiba (R200, R400), Sony (TZ series), HP (nc2400, nc2510) and Dell (D420/430) and tell them that they really should listen to some AC on Slashdot."
... and even if semiotic could not find and or name a single manufacturer who does so today, so what?

Zero__Kelvin, channeling Scott Adams:

Engineer: "Hey boss, I just greatly improved our hard disk storage in new laptop XYZ while dropping the over all weight, or alternativley we can add just a bit more weight and have hardware RAID [wikipedia.org] level 1!
PHB: "That sounds great! How do you do it?"
Engineer: "Well, I'm using the new 1.8 drives from Hitachi Global Storage."
PHB: I'm very disappointed with you. You had me excited. What kind of engineer are you that you don't know laptops use 2.5" drives? Get outta my office!
Engineer: "You post as an Anonymous Coward on slashodt, don't you"
PHB: "How the hell did you know?"

Re:another infomercial (1)

Wicko (977078) | more than 6 years ago | (#20526243)

Err, it did say that it was per platter, not a single drive. I'm not sure how many platters 1.8" drives have, if I had to guess, that Samsung might use 2 platters. Just a guess anyway, too lazy to look that up.

Jesus Christ, my ass really stinks today! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20525439)

And my farts sound like freight trains colliding in a tunnel.

I found the patent info on this... (3, Funny)

dada21 (163177) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525449)

...Toshiba's patent just says to take out the MFM hard disc controller, and replace it with their new RLL controller. I tested this myself and got my 10MB drive to a full 15MB without a single problem!

Re:I found the patent info on this... (1)

slittle (4150) | more than 6 years ago | (#20526365)

Did you know that you can also drill a hole in it and get 30MB?

Honest.

ob simpsons reference (1)

Headcase88 (828620) | more than 6 years ago | (#20526935)

That's a common misconception. They actually make the hard drive run faster.

Re:I found the patent info on this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20526557)

Umm, MFM and RLL are just ways to encode data on a storage medium, they don't use different hardware controllers.

Re:I found the patent info on this... (4, Funny)

Headcase88 (828620) | more than 6 years ago | (#20526967)

dada21 casts JOKE at Anonymous Coward
Woosh! The attack misses.
Headcase88 taunts from afar
Headcase88 equips flame shield

Its still a toshiba (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20525451)

Yeah, this is great and all, but its still a toshiba drive. Whats next, IBM bringing back the Deathstar( read deskstar) hard drives that radomly turn themselves into glitter?

Their reputation for cheap, and poorly performing, drives will probably keep them in the shadow.

And yes, I am a seagate/maxtor fanboy. I still have a 1.6gb maxtor from 95 that works fine.

Re:Its still a toshiba (2, Funny)

v1 (525388) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525479)

And yes, I am a seagate/maxtor fanboy. I still have a 1.6gb maxtor from 95 that works fine.

I was a seagate fanboy until 3 months ago. Lets just say that evening I could hear the (2 month old) 500gb seagate in my basement before I put the key in the door. (sounded like a circular saw)

Re:Its still a toshiba (1)

Nextraztus (1084719) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525503)

Your hard drive was likely still under warranty through Seagate -- did you look into it and see if they would replace it for you? I've had very good luck with Seagate data storage over the years (*knocks on wood*). Although the Google report on hard drives scares me still. http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/02/ 18/0420247 [slashdot.org]

Re:Its still a toshiba (4, Insightful)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525641)

Your hard drive was likely still under warranty through Seagate -- did you look into it and see if they would replace it for you?

I imagine that is the least of his worries. When I lost an 80GB drive a couple years ago I would have gladly paid several times the price of a new one if I could only have gotten the contents back. While a free replacement drive might lessen the blow somewhat--as geeky as it might sound--losing a hard drive with gigabytes of content you really care about is a gut-wrenching experience. Everything from my high school days (homework, projects, work, programming, games, music... everything) was gone in one fail swoop.

The only thing similar to it is having your house burn down. Sure insurance should cover it all, but there is no way to get back what was really lost. I suppose if nothing else it taught me the importance of hardware redundancy, though it seemed a high price to pay at the time.

Re:Its still a toshiba (1)

Nextraztus (1084719) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525711)

Yea, I guess you're right about that. But if that had happened to me, I would have at least tried to get my money back out of the drive by shooting for a replacement and reselling the new one (bare minimum). However, losing a single drive from Seagate probably wont cause me to move to another manufacturer...then again, I have a lot of backups since I have lost smaller harddrives in the past from other manufacturers. Either way, it is still a major inconvenience and I certainly understand why you might not even worry about it after that.

Re:Its still a toshiba (1)

benow (671946) | more than 6 years ago | (#20526051)

Yeah, well, backup is a good thing to do. I've built myself a script to find 4G, prompt for disk and burn it, validate the burn and, if burned correctly, nuke the files, eject and move on to the next 4G. It works well, and at >$.30 for 4G it's cheap and fast. Not reliable enough for the paranoid, perhaps. If not, suck it up and mirror a couple cheap smaller drives.

Re:Its still a toshiba (1)

gallwapa (909389) | more than 6 years ago | (#20526377)

link please?
suse10

Re:Its still a toshiba (1)

benow (671946) | more than 6 years ago | (#20526439)

Heh, sorry, it's not good enough to release (currently broken). I integrated it with my sql disk indexer and it got kind of big. The core is not much more than growisofs and dir compare. The rest is java to sort by filesize and create growisofs command. Perhaps I should get it good enough again.

Re:Its still a toshiba (1)

Kijori (897770) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527331)

I wouldn't worry about doing anything so complex if you want to backup your files. Simply archive your filesystem - or as much of it as you can store at a time - and then split the files and burn them to DVDs. Rather simpler and you don't have to hunt through everything to find the files you wanted, they're exactly where you'd expect on the FS after you restore.

Re:Its still a toshiba (1)

benow (671946) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527627)

Yeah, the sql indexing is useful for finding a single file among many when mass archiving... rather a different solution than straight backup. Using the sql disk index I had actually built up a Fuse VFS for NSM serial controled optical jukebox. ie: 'cd /jukebox/disk32/; ls; mplayer file.mp3' would set disk32 as the curr, list files from sql index, then load disk 32 and stream the file. It's not far off working, actually...

Re:Its still a toshiba (1)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 6 years ago | (#20526719)

Well, if you didn't mind paying thousands of dollars, you could certainly have had a data-recovery service remount your dead drive's platters with a new r/w head and get the data out...

Re:Its still a toshiba (1)

SCPaPaJoe (767952) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527907)

I had to do this to an old 20MB PC/XT drive a couple of years ago. I remember it costing only $300-$500. The turn-around was amazing at three day from when I sent it out (red lable). I recovered most of the data except where heads crashed on the platters. Anyone remember the good old days when we parked the HD heads manually?

Re:Its still a toshiba (1)

jsebrech (525647) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527531)

While a free replacement drive might lessen the blow somewhat--as geeky as it might sound--losing a hard drive with gigabytes of content you really care about is a gut-wrenching experience. Everything from my high school days (homework, projects, work, programming, games, music... everything) was gone in one fail swoop.

With external hard drive prices these days, you have zero excuses for not having a backup.

I keep everything that must be kept in a separate folder, and I drag that to my external backup drive every once in a while. I lost my primary drive just a few weeks ago, and was back up and running with all my data in a matter of hours.

For extra bonus points, buy two external drives and keep one of them off-site (in your car or something).

Re:Its still a toshiba (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20527795)

How hard would it have been to write all those homework projects and crap to a $0.25 DVD? It's not like you're still updating them, sheesh.

Good DVD writers are/were like $35 even years ago.

Re:Its still a toshiba (1)

RulerOf (975607) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527905)

When I lost an 80GB drive a couple years ago

I feel your pain friend... I lost almost 3T of data a couple weeks ago, but it wasn't due to hardware failure... it happened on a RAID-6 array. An automated chkdsk munched all of it. I bought the hardware because, like you, I've lost data in the past due to unforseen failures, but just when you think you've covered all the angles, something else reaches out and bites you in the ass. It still goes to show though, that absolutely nothing can truly replace a proper backup, not even RAID.

Fscking Checkdisk...

Re:Its still a toshiba (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527957)

you are quite correct. I had purchased a pair of them two months prior due to running low on space here. I had a collection of many smaller drives, 160gb through 320gb, that I copied the contents off from and set aside to see how the new drives worked out. About a week before the "event", I repurposed the smaller drives.

Needless to say that sent me scurrying for the pile of smaller drives, many of which I had not reformatted yet. I did lose quite a bit of data though which is unfortunate. The only good note on that was a lot of it I wa able to rebuild. I have the entire babylon 5 series of box sets here which I had ripped, and I had to re-rip them all. (took about 3 weeks)

Up until now I have relied on purchasing what I consider high quality drives, and by keeping a very close eye on them by running weekly automatic surface scans. Drives that start failing scans get replaced immediately. This vigilance was no help to a catastrophic sudden head crash.

When I took it back to Best Buy they were ready to give me another. I was not too happy with the idea of getting another one, so I opted for store credit instead. I used that credit and some added coin to buy a pair of 1tb maxtors. Maxtor has been true crap in the past but they seem to have improved quite a bit. I now have 100% of my data here mirrored or better. I'm done trusting my data to any brand. Redundancy is the only way to go. Still bugs me that I have the other seagate 500 still in service, but it's fully mirrored to one of the maxtors so I am not so concerned.

In addition to the data loss, one must factor in the inconvenience involved. It's like getting a new car and having it spend 1/2 of its first three months in the shop getting various defects fixed that keep coming up. A frustrating experience that makes the idea of a warranty much less comforting,

This experience also inspired me to burn several DVDs of the truly irreplaceable data such as family history records.

Re:Its still a toshiba (1)

StormReaver (59959) | more than 6 years ago | (#20528287)

"I suppose if nothing else it taught me the importance of hardware redundancy, though it seemed a high price to pay at the time."

My primary hard drive died yesterday without any warning. My big mistake was to run fsck and let it automatically repair errors. I should have just immediately hit the power button, installed a new drive, and dd the old one. That may not have worked either, as Linux was reporting hardware buffer errors on every few sectors, but at least the filesystem for the readable inodes wouldn't have been automatically rewritten. Almost everything on that drive is a total loss (sigh).

The silver lining is that when I switched from Fedora Core 6 to Kubuntu in March of this year, I did a complete /home backup to a different hard drive just to be on the safe side (just in case I had accidentally told Kubuntu to reformat my home partition). With that one stroke of paranoia, I've "only" lost the last six months of my computing life (passwords, emails) rather than the last two years (that was the last time I had done a backup). I didn't backup my web site, so it's a total loss. It's not that big a deal, though. I should be able to get the important content back through Google.

Now I'm looking into building a dedicated RAID 5 backup server. The expense is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Re:Its still a toshiba (1)

lurker-11 (977638) | more than 6 years ago | (#20529045)

It's 3x the cost, but I always buy disks in sets of three:
- One as the primary
- One to be mirrored in RAID1 with the first
- One to put into a normally-offline backup server, mirrored to the primary disk once a night or so with rsync

A bit paranoid, but I haven't had any data loss with this strategy, and the maximum possible is just 24 hours of data loss. With current disk prices, I think it's worth it.

Re:Its still a toshiba (2, Funny)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525745)

I was a seagate fanboy until 3 months ago. Lets just say that evening I could hear the (2 month old) 500gb seagate in my basement before I put the key in the door. (sounded like a circular saw)

It was just happy to see you and welcoming you home.

Re:Its still a toshiba (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525605)

err, i have 2x seagate 200gig sata drives sitting at home, both under 2 years old both of them died with the same symptoms, clicking noise followed by filesystems that wouldn't complete booting.

I'm not the only one with this experience either.

safe to say, i wouldn't be crowing too loud about seagate drives.

Re:Its still a toshiba (1)

loshwomp (468955) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525661)

-1 BS.

Seagate drives are the only ones I know of that still have a 5-year retail warranty. Why didn't you replace yours, then?

Re:Its still a toshiba (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20526147)

sooo you got your two replacements because they were both still under warranty yes? sure you lost ur data, but thats why you back up ur crap. and if you don't back up ur crap, you're an idiot. some people may think *haha my hard drive from whoever's not ganna crash because it's made by whoever* well, you're a fucking idiot. seagates still the best buy around simply because it has the longest warranty. whether or not you may have data loss shouldn't really be in the equation... you should pretty much assume (for all ur important crap) that your hard drive IS going to fail within the next 10 minutes. no matter who-the-fuck makes it. if you assume you're not going to have data any loss, you screw yourself over, every time.

Re:Its still a toshiba (1)

dana340 (914286) | more than 6 years ago | (#20526339)

This year, I've personally replaced over 50 hard drives, about 20 of which were from portable systems, (notebooks, etc.). 15 of those were Toshiba drives. . IBM/Hitachi "Deathstar" and "Troublestar" is is not that much better. These two companies account for the highest failure rates I've seen.

Please keep in mind that this data is not scientific. i ALWAYS advise my clients to keep their important data in more than one place, because HDD failure is so common. I have noticed that Western Digital drives have the lowest failure rate (once again not-very-scientific) I've only replaced three this year. and two of those were over 5 years old used in the same room with an X ray tube.

It's great Toshiba is pioneering new technology, but I'd like them to make their existing technology work first.

Better information on this (4, Informative)

eclectro (227083) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525533)

There is an article about discrete track [eetimes.com] recording that explains it pretty well. Using materials with different magnetic properties they are able to map channels onto the platter (hence the 'discrete'). Presumably this might would be cumbersome to manufacture for larger discs, but less so with smaller disks.

Re:Better information on this (2, Funny)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 6 years ago | (#20525639)

God, I'd really like it if they'd come out with discreet track recording technology so I can hide all my porn!

(But at 120GB, that's not nearly enough space!)

What about 3.5" drives? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20525675)

So, why don't they apply it to 3.5" drives too?

Can we stop using harddrives? (1)

bitRAKE (739786) | more than 6 years ago | (#20526227)

Why don't we drop the moving part drives? Can't flash memory and/or battery backed RAM drives replace hard drives?

Re:Can we stop using harddrives? (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527469)

No. See Density. Last I checked there aren't any affordable 500+GB flash disk systems.

And even still, flash wears out too. So it's not like we have a never-failing non-volatile memory system yet.

Re:Can we stop using hard drives? (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527859)

Yeah, isn't it about time these engineers start thinking forward instead of investing all their R&D into should-be-already-obsolete models? Maybe it will take Steve Jobs to kill off hard drives once and for all.

flash-storage (1)

Knoeki (1149769) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527465)

I'm all for flash-storage as well. it's faster, uses less power, makes less noise, etc. also, my HDD's make some awfull noise too, when turning on the machine. after that it's fine. (( and well, how often do I turn it off/on? ;_) ))

Re:flash-storage (1)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527943)

Actually, if you get a less cheap hard drive, wouldn't that already significantly improve speed, power consumption, and make less noise? Or am I just fooling myself? It would probably still be cheaper than the flash drive equivalent too.

No its not faster. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20529405)

Why do people keep making this assumption? We've been using flash drives for years in our products, they have certainly got faster, but so have hard drives. The fastest flash drives you can get are still an order of magnitude slower than an ordinary sata drive.
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