TeraStor Inc was promising great things for its new Near Field Recording storage technology all last year (CI No 3,113, 3,269), and now the San Jose, California-based company says it will soon be ready to bring NFR drives to the commercial market. The first in a proposed family of removable storage products are due out […]
TeraStor Inc was promising great things for its new Near Field Recording storage technology all last year (CI No 3,113, 3,269), and now the San Jose, California-based company says it will soon be ready to bring NFR drives to the commercial market. The first in a proposed family of removable storage products are due out in the fourth quarter of this year, and will provide capacity of 10 and 20Gb within a standard 5.25 half height form factor. Follow on products will use two-sided cartridges, doubling capacity to 40Gb. TeraStore says they will form the basis of a new range of re-writable mass storage products delivering five to ten times the capacity of current high volume storage products, at a lower cost-per-gigabyte. The company was formed in December 1995 by Quantum Corp and Maxtor Corp founder Jim McCoy, and since then has been working to bring its technology to market. Near Field Recording enables higher areal density – or bits per square inch of surface – of the storage medium, using a contamination resistant cartridge design and advanced error correction. Near Field Recording is the trademarked name for technology which has been developed from patented research belonging to Stanford University and Quantum. TeraStor has added value in the form of linking technology which makes Stanford’s and Quantum’s work fit together more effectively. It uses a flying head similar to that used in a standard hard drive but including two optical lenses and a magnetic coil. A solid immersion lens developed by Stanford University focuses the optical laser accurately on the recording media, enabling data to be recorded on magnetic media in a more compact form than previously possible. Terastor has an agreement with Hitachi America Ltd to use the Hitachi SH-7021 RISC chip within its disk drives, and has a media co-development deal with Imation Corp in place. Maxell Ltd has agreed to develop and manufacture the first surface magneto-optical media for the drives, and Mitsumi Electronics Inc will manufacture the drives themselves. Olympus Optical Co Ltd, Tosoh Corp and Yamaha Ltd are also involved, and Quantum Corp, which has licensed some of the technology to TeraStor, is in turn a licensee for NFR products. TeraStore reckons the products will compete against current removable hard drives, tape and magneto-optical systems. Prices for the 10Gb drive are expected to be in the region of $700 to $800. 20Gb products won’t be out until the middle of 1999, and are expected to cost over $1,000.