The quest to provide more Gigabytes per hard disk is one that all hard drive manufacturers aspire to. Western Digital has pushed the envelope with the announcement of its 520Gb per square inch areal density – the hard drive industry's highest demonstrated density to date using continuous media.

The company revealed the milestone this week at the Perpendicular Magnetic Recording Conference in Tokyo after an earlier demonstration in California.
Jenny Rex, sales director at distributor Drive Control Corporation, says: "Both businesses and consumers are faced with the challenge of storing more data. If we look at the increase in use of video clips, MP3 files, photos and other Megabyte hungry files, the need for increased disk space is very real."
Following WD's growing investments in technology the past five years, the company achieved 520Gb per square inch using its own perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR)/tunneling magneto-resistive (TuMR) head technology.
This level of density produces a 3,5-inch hard drive storing 640GB-per-platter and single hard drive capacities as large as 3Tb. Based on the industry's current density growth rate of more than 40% per year, those capacities are expected to be available in the 2010 timeframe.
Current industry-leading hard drive densities shipping in high volume are about 200Gb per square inch, as featured in WD's 250Gb WD Scorpio 2,.5-inch drive for
notebooks and mobile applications, which began shipping in May 2007.
"WD was the first hard drive manufacturer to ship in volume the 250Gb capacity point in the 2,5-inch form factor," says Hossein Moghadam, chief technology officer at WD. "Our technology investments position WD with our customers as a leading choice for the highest, cutting-edge capacities. Our top priority will be to remain keenly focused on providing the highest quality and reliability, which customers have come to expect from WD after years of relying on our products."