Seagate was able to reduce the track size by adding dual piezoelectric nano-actuators (small motors) to the tip of its drive actuator arm, offering greater read-write stability. That stability is needed because 7200 rpm is the equivalent of a platter spinning at 75 mph generating wind speeds of 85 mph at the read-write head, according to Burks.
"When is enough capacity enough? Well, we might be getting close to that," Burks said. "You'll now see a leveling off of areal density growth. [In the future] you're not going to see capacities grow as fast as they have ... but you'll see a new recognition around the need for performance. That certainly emerges in our product portfolio going forward."
Seagate said it has been able to add the new AcuTrac technology to drives of all capacities -- from 250GB to 3TB -- at 7200 rpm, which will simplify drive upgrades for customers.
"So [customers] don't need to deploy extra engineering resources on requalifying drives when you've got one platform that spans all these capacities that will live for a long time," Burks said. "Similarly, for a lot of our distribution partners, they like the idea that they can carry fewer drives in their inventory. It just brings costs down from an inventory perspective."
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