Seagate Technology LLC has begun shipping what it says is the first disk drive that can sense when it is in free fall and so ready itself for a crash landing.
The drive, which Seagate says is shipping to a major OEM is also the first laptop drive to combine a 7,200rpm spin speed with perpendicular recording platters and up to 160GB capacity.
When a sensor within the drive detects that it is in zero-G free-fall, the drive head is immediately parked off disk to minimize any damage to the magnetic platters on landing. The process is quick enough to happen in less time than it takes a laptop to drop eight inches.
So the drive is much more likely than others to survive a typical drop from moderate heights such as desktop – which will be the height of the huge majority of falls.
Seagate first began shipping perpendicular recording in January 2006. By stacking magnetic domains vertically rather than horizontally within drive platters, PR offers much greater data densities than previous longitudinal recording.