A shorter version of this article also appeared in our recent January issue of HWM.
Hardware Zone had the honor of catching up with James M. Chirico, the Senior VP of Global Operations at Seagate on their upcoming perpendicular recording technology, their upcoming products for 2006 and the developments in the storage business. James currently oversees all of Seagate's operations including the development of media.
HWZ : Well, the hottest topic these days around storage has to be perpendicular recording technology. Is Seagate on track to deliver its first hard drive featuring perpendicular recording technology?
James M. Chirico : We are on track. In fact, a number of drives now are going through our reliability and quality processes today. The drives are performing better than our expectations and we're really excited about getting that out into the marketplace. We said back in June that they are going out in 1Q2006 and we're on track to meet that date. The performance to date is phenomenal. We're really excited about it and we believe it's going to have tremendous market acceptance.
True to Seagate's promise, Seagate has recently launched their first perpendicular recording drive, the Momentus 5400.3, a 2.5-inch notebook drive with a capacity at 160GB.
HWZ : While Seagate was developing perpendicular recording technology, what kind of technological trade-off did Seagate encounter?
Chirico : I won't say there's any trade-off from the technology perspective. There are some issues in developing perpendicular that are different from longitudinal. One of the areas that we really needed to spend a fair amount of time was on media. Perpendicular technology actually requires a totally new media process (because it is more) susceptible to different type of media defects than longitudinal. We've invested tremendously - most of which were in our Woodlands facility here in Singapore. From the technology perspective, one of the biggest investments we made more than any in the rest of the program was in the area of media. We've been able to overcome that and we feel really bullish about where we are with the product now.