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Noise is among the biggest problems with HDDs in audio/video applications. No one wants to hear the clicking sounds of the HDD while listening to music, or while recording a late-night TV programme while trying to sleep.
“In the old days, hard drives had ball bearings, which made a lot of noise due to friction. Later, they were replaced by fluid-dynamic bearing (FDB) motors; so, instead of ball bearings you have fluid. And it was because of this innovation that many consumer electronics devices were possible,” says Shrivastava.
Samsung addresses the issue of noise with its SilentSeek technology, whereas Seagate cuts out the noise factor by using SoftSonic fluid-dynamic bearing motors and QuietStep ramp load technology.
Hard drives—set for a long and innovative innings
There is still more innovation in store (literally) in the hard drive sector. Heat-assisted magnetic recording and hybrid hard drives that use Flash memory are among the technologies in the works. This is an ‘Era of Digital Video’ and there has been a rapid growth in consumer electronics devices, which also means an increased demand for smaller, thinner and higher capacity hard drives. Device manufacturers today are looking for drives that use less power, have high shock tolerance and are easy to integrate,” says Hitachi’s Robert Chu.
As the demand for storage mushrooms, the line between what’s commercial and what’s personal is likely to be blurred. “If the march for higher capacity continues, the industry is likely to see 1 terabyte desktop drives in the near future,” says Rajesh Khurana, country head, Seagate.
The next decade will be marked by widespread proliferation of hard drives—into TVs, cars, mobile phones, and a multitude of other devices that we cannot yet imagine. If industry experts are to be believed, there will be a continued doubling of storage capacity every couple of years, which will help the hard drive retain its value proposition of low cost and high capacity.
The hard drive is likely to remain an integral part of our digital future. And judging by its performance so far, we are not complaining!