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[Discussion] Graphene HDDs May Be Next Storage Breakthough

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A study, published in Nature Communications, was carried out in collaboration with teams at the University of Exeter, India, Switzerland, Singapore, and the US, has found that HDDs made using graphene can improve storage capabilities ten-fold when compared to current modern standards.

For those that do not know, HDDs are made up of two major components: a platter (or set of platters) and a head (or multiple heads).  You can visualize these as the platter being a CD and the head simply being the tool that writes the data onto the CD.  The materials used in these devices have evolved over the years with HDDs getting both smaller in physical size and denser in data storage.  In fact, since 1990, HDDs have quadrupled in storage capacity and are able to be nearly ¼ of the size.

However, with the research being completed on graphene-based HDDs, those massive improvements over time might look minor should the technology come to these devices.  Graphene has also shown benefits beyond storage density, as it also reduces friction and corrosion on the platter in significant amounts, which would extend the life of the drive.

Some may be wondering why HDDs are even still around and that is simple, the amount of new data being added each year is simply unbelievable and newer SSDs would never keep up with demand or offer a cost-effective solution.  Studies have estimated that YouTube alone gets around 720,000 hours of video uploaded to their servers every day, so storage solutions are always needed (this is also why YouTube moderating via bots is not going way). 

Obviously, this is currently at the research phase of the product and when or even if a product will be made is still completely unknown.  Although it is a safe assume that any solution for higher density storage will be followed up by someone in the tech industry as data storage needs are certainly not going away or reducing over time.  Costs of theses drives are also unknown as graphene (a once incredibly expense product) has certainly reduced in price over the years, but the demand for the product is far from low and when compared to other materials, it is safe to bet that these drives will not be cheaper than existing ones.

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