Mechanical drives might be a bit on the slow side, but the price per GB still makes them king among digital packrats. The technology behind today’s 2 & 3TB drives is currently known as perpendicular magnetic recording, but recently we seem to have hit a wall. Manufacturers are already hard at work on 4 platter-4TB drives, but were starting to reach the limitations of what’s possible. Luckily a recent collaboration by the remaining mechanical drive makers has begun to pay off, and the Storage Technology Alliance believes it has discovered a way to use lasers to blast to 8TB and beyond.
TDK is evidently stoked about its SDG3B solid state drive line, so much that it's announcing the launch of these industrial SSDs a month before release. Dubbed SDG3B, these SATA 3Gbps SSDs come equipped with TDK's GBDriver RS3 controller ICs. The focus here is on data reliability instead of balls-to-the-wall performance, and underscoring that point is the complete absence of cache.
TDK was our favorite brand of cassette back in the days when we were taping our albums so we wouldn’t scratch the vinyl. Imation owns the brand now, and they’re slapping it on a new family of home-audio products—including a USB turntable and several iPod docks—dubbed TDK Life on Record.
As much as we respected TDK tape, we didn’t have high expectations for a line of audio products bearing the name. After all, the TDK we remember never manufactured anything other than tape. But when Imation’s Steven Swenson demoed some of the new iPod docks for us at the Belagio this morning, we were surprised at how great they sounded. We’ll reserve final judgment until we get a shipping product in our mitts, of course, but we now have a much different set of expectations.
You have until the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2011 to rip your old cassette tapes to MP3, or purchase your mix tape favs in MP3 format and shuttle them to a USB stick. Why January? That's when TDK plans to resurrect the boombox era with the release of its Three-Speaker Boombox, CNet reports.
This modern twist on a boombox features three drivers consisting of a 15W woofer in the middle and two 10W stereo speakers on either side. Crunch the numbers and you'll find that comes out to 35W (RMS).
TDK retains the the same general form factor as those boomboxes you used to crank your Beastie Boys tracks with, but with a modern touch of gloss and connectivity options that include a USB port (supports iPhone and iPod touch), RCA, minijack, and a 1/4-inch instrument input.
If all this sounds groovy, start saving your ducats now. The Three-Speaker Boombox will run $500.
All the talk about high-capacity media has focused on BDXL, which are Blu-ray discs capable of storing up to 128GB of data, but TDK has other plans. During the Ceatec trade show in Japan, TDK revealed an optical disc that can hold 1TB of data.
The prototype disc is comprised of 16 layers, each one able to store 32GB of code on both sides of the disc. For the sake of comparison, current Blu-ray media tops out at four layers.
TDK said it used a material with a high light transmittance, which "has already been used for part of a Blu-ray disc." In addition, the disc requires a beam with a numerical aperture of 0.85, the same for Blu-ray media, so there shouldn't be any problem there either. The only issue, says TDK, is in the thickness of the disc.
"According to the specifications of the Blu-ray Disc, the thickness of a recording layer has to be 100μm or less," TDK said. "But the recording layer of the new disc is 260μm in thickness. And it causes the aberration of an optical lens."
The iPhone, iPod Touch are still hot markets, especially for accessories. TDK is has announced a set of wireless headphones, the TH-WR700, which it is positioning for iPod/iPhone use, but which can also be used with any audio equipment sporting a 3.5 mm stereo mini-plug port.
TDK’s headphones make us of Kleer technology to transmit sound, rather than Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. TDK says Kleer transmits a lossless 16bit/44.1KHZ signal using the 2.4GHz band, which it claims is less susceptible to interference. The infrared transmitter is capable of maintaining line-of-sight contact up to 30 feet.
The headphones require a pair of AAA batteries, which will provide up to 40 hours of listening time. It’s possible to connect up to four pairs of headphones up to a single transmitter. The headphones are over the ear, have 34mm drivers, 108dB/mW, a 32Ω impedance, and a pretty standard frequency range of 20-20kHz.
No word on price. TDK says the TH-WR700 will be on shelves March 1.
Sharp and TDK are doubling down on Blu-ray disc storage capacity, each introducing a prototype capable of storing up to 100GB of data, up from the current standard of 50GB. The prototypes make use of a four-layer disc, up from the present maximum of two, and are capable of recording data at 72Mbps, again double the current level of 32Mbps.
While TDK hasn’t disclosed its underlying technology, Sharp’s advancements come from the substitution of dielectric film used for recording data on a Blu-ray disc with aluminum oxynitride. Sharp also makes use of a pulse operated blue-violet semiconductor laser with an optical output as high as 500mW. The laser’s oscillation wavelength of 405nm is capable of writing at 8x speed on three- and four-layered Blu-ray discs.
While the prototype technology holds promise it’s speculative at this point. The Blu-ray Disc Association, which sets the standards for Blu-ray discs, has specifications only for single- and dual-layer discs. Without an adjustment to the standards it doesn’t make economic sense for Sharp or TDK to move beyond the prototype stage. And even if they did the sad fact is current Blu-ray players aren’t able to handle anything over 50GB.
It’s been a long time since TDK had bragging rights in the storage wars, but a new breakthrough promises to put them back on top. According to the companies recently released roadmap, a 3.5 inch 2.5TB drive design is currently being tested which will feature a new 640GB platter. This would allow TDK to leapfrog Seagate, Hitachi and even Western Digital who are still working with 500GB platters.
Mass production is currently planned for November of this year and will most likely result in drives hitting the street on or around late January or early February 2010. TDK is also investing heavily in the production and testing of a new 320GB platter for 2.5 inch drives which will result in low power, high performance 640GB notebook drives around the same period next year.
Sure this is a far cry from the 5TB Hitachi was promising for 2010, but TDK can still be king for a day right?