HWZ : How much more capacity can we obtain with perpendicular recording?
Chirico : Obviously perpendicular gives us the capability to extend the areal density performance of the drive, therefore the storage capacity can be extended. But I think that coupled with the fact of just how rugged are the drives, the performance and the price, I think the market would just reach an inflection point or at the beginning of, what I believe to be a tremendous demand for hard drives. This quarter (4Q05) was projected to be the first quarter for the hard drive industry itself to ship 100 million drives. You go back two years ago, I think the industry shipped about 300 million for the whole year. And expectations are that within the time we get to 2008, the number could be about 600 million. So, it's still a tremendous growth, but all centered around cost, performance and size. Most of that is driven around the whole big consumer market space. The consumer space has more and more applications coming out that are really fuelling a lot of the growth.
HWZ : When do you think we can break the Terabyte barrier?
Chirico : Well, we're shipping a 500GB drive now. The Tera barrier would probably be within two to three years time. Since we're on a projected growth of areal density of about 40% a year, so in about two to three years, we should be in the area of about a 900GB to a Terabyte.
HWZ : Is Seagate going to continue offering 5 year warranty on their new perpendicular recording drives since Seagate has, so far, no track record on its reliability?
Chirico : I don't see anything that's going to change the warranty. I can tell you that the testing we're doing today, whether it's perpendicular or longitudinal drive, compared to where we were three to five years ago, has increased by orders of magnitude because our customers today are demanding a higher level of performance when it comes to the area of quality. And as we introduce new products, one of our guiding principles is to ensure that the new product performs equal to or better than the existing product. We're making sure that everything is tested out and we send a number of customer test units out to our key suppliers and key customers who run them extensively, so we can understand exactly how the drives are performing and what improvements we need to make.