IBM gets dense on hard disk, Bell Labs hits fibre optic high

IBM gets dense on hard disk, Bell Labs hits fibre optic highSteve Bush No changes in the semiconductor section of the Electronics Weekly parameter table this month, but an addition in the disc storage section, a new record for fibre optic communication and a whole new category are on offer. Developed in a joint programme between its Almaden Research Center and its Storage System Division, IBM has released details of the most densely recorded hard disk drive announced to date. It has an aerial density – as IBM likes to call it – of 11.6Gbit per square inch (18Mbit/mm 2 ) doubling the record that the company set last year. To get this density, IBMis using a GMR (giant magnetoresistive effect) read head, a thin-film inductive write head and low noise cobalt alloy magnetic media. In addition, “Nearly all operating parameters are tightened another notch,” says IBM. The read-write head that achieves this density is 1.25mm long and flies 10nm above the disc – which spins at between 4,000 and 10,000 revs per minute. At this density, IBM reckons that it could squeeze 72Gbyte of data into a desktop PC drive, 4.5 times the current production maximum. Meanwhile in the optical domain, Bell Labs reports using wave length division multiplexing (WDM) to put 1.2Tbit/s down 85km of cable. In this case using 30 wavelengths, each carrying 40Gbit/s. 100 wavelengths at 10Gbit/s (1Tbit/s) over 400km has also been reported. Anew category in the parameter table is rechargable batteries, where production lithium ion (Liion) and nickel-metal hydride batteries are still equal at 300Wh/l, but Liion is ahead in the weight stakes at 130Wh/kg.
Professor Peter Bruce, a lithium battery expert at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, sees power densities in production Liion cell climbing to around 350Wh/l soon. “There are significantly better negative electrode materials close to production from several manufacturers,” he said. The Electronics Weekly bumper parameter bundle No one claims that this is exhaustive or even right, but it is correct to the best of our knowledge. If you can update it, feel free to phone me on 0181 652 3640, but have some evidence to hand. Component On sale In lab     Biggest DRAM 128Mbit Samsung 4Gbit NEC at ISSCC’97 Biggest flash 64Mbit 2bit/cell Intel 128Mbit 2bit/cell Samsung at ISSCC’96 Fastest processor 700MHz Samsung Alpha 1.1GHZ IBM PowerPC Most powerful processor fix pt 40SpecINT95 DEC Alpha 21264 –   Most powerful processor flt pt 60SpecFP95 DEC Alpha 21264 –   Most DSP Mips 1.6Gips peak TI C6x –   Mips/W 410Mips/W DEC StrongARM 1.8Gips/W NEC at ISSCC’98 Lowest $/Mip 1$/Mip Generic –   Most CPU transistors 15m IBM P2SC 70m HP PA-8500 Biggest logic chip 19 x 18mm HP PA-8200 –   Most FPGA transistors 25m transistors Xilinx XC40125 –   Highest CPU power consumption 75W Alpha 21264 85W Exponential X704 (scrapped) Data rate down a single fibre 160Gbit/s 10Gbit/s x 16 1.2Tbit/s 40Gbit/s x 30l over 85km Fastest op amp 5.5kV/?s AD AD8009 –   Highest disk data density 6.2Mbit/mm 2 IBM (4bnbit/in 2 ) 18Mbit/mm 2 IBM (11.6Gbit/in 2 ) PC disc drive – most capacity 16.8Gbyte IBM –     Highest switching capacity 25MW SPCOcorp 5kV 5kA thyristor –   Smallest component package 0.5 x 0.25mm ‘0201′ SM resistors –   Highest value single capacitor 2700F Maxwell Technologies –   Best rechargable cell density by vol 300Wh/l Both Liion &NiMH 350Wh/l Liion production imminent Best rechargable cell density by wt 130Wh/kg Liion –  

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