IBM RAMAC, the world's first disk drive recognized

Last April, the IEEE recognized the IBM RAMAC, the world's first disk drive, as an IEEE Milestone. A dedication ceremony was held in San Jose on May 26. Last Friday morning, Jan. 27, 2006, the plaque, along with one from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, was mounted at 99 Notre Dame Avenue in San Jose, site of the IBM development laboratory where RAMAC originated. Representatives from the IEEE, IBM, Magnetic Disk Heritage Center, Santa Clara County Superior Court ( which occupies the building), IBM Quarter Century Club, and the media were all on hand to witness and celebrate the event.

What: Large historic plaques honoring the creation of the world's first hard-disk drive at this location some 50 years ago will be affixed to the building at 99 Notre Dame Ave. by City of San Jose workers. (The building is now a family courthouse for the Superior Court of Santa Clara County.)

On this site, IBM researchers devised and created the first magnetic hard-disk drive – the IBM RAMAC. It had 50 disks (each disk was two FEET in diameter) and a total data-storage capacity of 5 megabytes. This may seem very small now, but at the time this was a huge innovation. It led to today's multi-billion-dollar data storage industry (led by companies such as IBM, Hitachi, Seagate, Western Digital, EMC, etc.). Continued improvements in disk drives -- pioneered by IBM in San Jose for more than four decades -- allowed computer users to access and work with more and more data as their computers increased in capability.

The plaques being installed were presented by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in honor of the technical innovations that the IBM RAMAC represented in their engineering disciplines.

99 Notre Dame Ave. was designated as a City Landmark in January 2002.

Who: RAMAC pioneers, a current IBM executive and industry representatives:
Al Hoagland – RAMAC and magnetic storage pioneer (now with Santa Clara U.)
Laura Guio – IBM's San Jose Senior Site Executive (also: Director, Storage Development)
Roger Hoyt – Representative of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Roger F. Hoyt, PhD, Fellow IEEE

San Jose, CA 95120-4022
email: roger.hoyt@sbcglobal.net

HITACHI announces

As the hard drive industry approaches its 50th Anniversary (September 2006), expected industry growth is at an all-time high. Analysts predict that more hard drives will be shipped in the next five years, than in the previous 50. And the industry continues to evolve with a steady pace of innovation and technological advancements.

To meet the latest trends in the HDD industry, Hitachi GST is making a series of announcements around plans to double its 3.5” market share, better meet Digital Video trends, introduce a new product line for video (CinemaStar) and celebrate the last 50 years, with a look towards the future.

Please find press release headlines below and you can access the full release at www.hitachigst.com

A Faster, Denser Hard Drive Debuts

Boost in capacity and performance adds to appeal of perpendicular drives.

Jon L. Jacobi
From the May 2006 issue of PC World magazine

The reorientation of hard drives has begun: The first drives to use perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) technology to pack more data into less space are out. And our tests reveal that they not only boost storage capacity but perform faster as well.

In our tests of the Seagate Momentus 5400.3 and its non-PMR 5400.2 predecessor, the PMR unit showed a modest boost overall, completing its runs in about 7 percent less time; results just for sustained throughput were even more impressive with a 15 to 17 percent gain. The PMR drive's greater areal density has little effect on seek speed, a component of many of our tests, but helped when our tasks focused on sustained throughput with sizable files.

PMR aligns the magnetic markers on a hard-disk surface in a different way to increase areal density so you can store more data on every platter. Existing technology was approaching its areal density limits, and drive manufacturers spent several years working to overcome the problem. The result for you is more and cheaper room for your data--which is no small concern in a world moving to high-definition media.

Inside the Drive

To visualize the difference between today's longitudinal and the new perpendicular recording, picture a drive platter. The bits of data on the disk are represented by magnetized particles with their poles oriented one way or the other. Until now, they have been aligned parallel to the disk surface, like concentric rings formed by tiny dominoes. PMR stands those dominoes on end--also in concentric circles--meaning you can squeeze far more dominoes into a given surface ("How It Works: New Drive Technology" shows the difference).

Toshiba has already shipped 40GB and 80GB, 1.8-inch PMR drives. At press time, only Toshiba's Megabeat MP3 players, sold in Japan, feature them, but they'll be in various consumer electronics devices and laptops soon. The second taste of PMR comes courtesy of Seagate's new 2.5-inch Momentus 5400.3 line, which ranges from 30GB to 160GB. The 160GB model is now the biggest notebook drive available, surpassing the previous 120GB notebook champ. The new drive not only has more storage, it uses less energy and gives off less heat, making for quieter, cooler micro PCs and digital video recorders. One caveat: Many BIOSs do not support drives larger than 137GB natively. Systems with Windows XP SP1 and later, as well as Linux, though, supplant such BIOSs and can recognize the full 160GB.

Future Disks

Seagate predicts that relatively soon PMR technology will deliver at least a four-fold increase in capacity. That means 2-terabyte, 3.5-inch single-platter disks for desktops; 1TB, 2.5-inch disks for laptops; and even 50GB for tiny 1-inch drives in MP3 players in the near future.

Headroom for tomorrow is good, but how much do you gain today? The highest-capacity (500GB), 3.5-inch drives currently on the market have an areal density of 125 gigabits per square inch; the PMR Toshiba models and the Momentus 5400.3 have 133 gbpsi. That's a measurable, if marginal gain, but compared with the average drive's approximately 100 gbpsi, it's a significant improvement.

With a winning combination of more storage and greater speed, the new drives should be a welcome addition to your storage arsenal. And they cost about the same $2 per GB as current drives--you'll find the 160GB Seagate drive kit for $320 (list).

New Drive Shows Its Mettle

A disk using perpendicular magnetic recording technology handily outperformed an earlier generation on our copying tests and kept a slim edge on other tests.

Product Drive technology Time in seconds to complete:
Copy files & folders Copy large file Find file Symantec Virus-Scan
Seagate 160GB Momentus 5400.3 Perpendicular 290 228 132 108
Seagate 120GB Momentus 5400.2 Longitudinal 340 274 136 119
CHART NOTES: Both 5400-rpm, 2.5-inch drives had 8MB of buffer and used the ATA-100 interface. Shorter times are better. Bold denotes best score. Tests conducted by the PC World Test Center. For details on testing, click on this link: How We Test. All rights reserved.

Photograph by: Marc Simon

New Spin-valve Bench (SVB) software from Euxine Technologies

Spin-valve Bench Version 2.0
Advanced spintronics device design and analysis software,

Euxine Technologies LLC, Dayton, Ohio, USA
All commercial names are trademarks of their respective owners

Euxine Technologies LLC released in April of 2006 Version 2.0 of its Spin-valve Bench (SVB) software for Microsoft Windows operating systems.

The SVB software offers an affordable, easy-to-use, robust and well-documented modeling environment for engineers and scientists engaged in the design and analysis of advanced spintronic devices such as multi-layer MRAM cells and MR read-head sensors. It is powered by a rigorous three-dimensional micromagnetic computation engine in combination with realistic phenomenological giant-magnetoresistance (GMR) and anisotropic-magnetoresistance (AMR) models. The user can easily model spin-torque and thermal effects for current-in-plane (CIP) and current-perpendicular-to-plane (CPP) device configurations.

To learn more about the SVB software visit us at http://www.euxine.com/svb.htm, and to request for a free evaluation license send us an email at joti@euxine.com .

Company contact:

Dr. John Oti