IDEMA, the International Disk Drive, Equipment, and Materials Association, has announced the results of an industry committee assembled to identify a new and longer sector standard for future magnetic hard disk drives (HDDs). This Committee recommended replacing the 30 year-standard of 512 bytes with sectors having ability to store 4096 bytes.
Dr. Ed Grochowski, executive director of IDEMA US, says that adopting a 4K-byte sector length facilitates further increases in data density for hard drives which will increase storage capacity for users while continuing to reduce cost per gigabyte.
"Increasing areal density of newer magnetic hard disk drives requires a more robust error correction code (ECC), and this can be more efficiently applied to 4096 byte sector lengths," explained Dr. Martin Hassner from Hitachi GST and IDEMA Committee member. "Today, hard drives are a major storage product for essentially all computer and consumer applications, and increased capacities are required to meet customer needs for more storage."
The IDEMA Long Data Block Committee was composed of members representing the major hard drive developers, as well as electronics and software companies. The Microsoft Corporation participated in this Committee and plans to include a 4K-byte sector capability in their upcoming operating system named Windows Vista.
The Committee foresees the first hard drive products becoming available later this year or in 2007, and is asking the computer industry to recognize this new standard and prepare for its availability. Backward compatibility with existing 512-byte products, both in hardware and in software, will be defined and accommodated during the phase over period. It is projected that most disk drives will be eventually formatted for 4K-byte sectors.