IBM + GMR = 2.6Gb/sq. in.
IBM hit a milestone this month when it shipped the first disk drives based on Giant Magnetoresistive (GMR) heads. The result is 2.6 billion bits per square inch, or 16.8GB in a 3.5-inch desktop disk drive. IBM claims GMR technology can take them to 10 billion bits per square inch by the year 2001 and ultimately to 20 or even 40 billion bits per square inch. GMR heads are about twice as sensitive as conventional MR heads.
IBM`s 16.8GB Deskstar 16GP has a rotation rate of 5,400 rpm. A 7,200-rpm 14.4GB model--the Deskstar 14GXP--is also available. Capacities for the Deskstar 16GP range from 3.2GB to 16.8GB. The Deskstar 14GXP ranges from 10.1GB to 14.4GB. OEM shipments began this month. The drives are expected to hit end-user PCs early next year.
IBM officials say they plan to transition their entire line of hard disks, including server-level drives and notebooks, to GMR heads over the next few years. In addition, IBM plans to license GMR technology to other disk-drive manufacturers.