Sony magnetic tape tech could mean cartridges that store 185TB

Just when you thought tapes were dead Sony has gone and made a huge leap that could mean cartridges which store up to 185 terabytes of data.

Sony developed the magnetic tape which can store 148 gigabits per square inch. That's about 74 times the density of standard tape.

But who uses tape, we hear you ask. It's mainly used by companies as a method for backing up data for long term storage. The LTO-6 stuff used right now has a density of 2 gigabites per square inch – which means 2.5TB cartridges. So this discovery by Sony is a big jump.

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The new magnetic tape is made using a vacuum thin film-forming technology called sputter disposition. This fires argon ions at a polymer film substrate to create layers of magnetic crystal particles at an average size of 7.7 nanometers.

The technology has been measured and verified by IBM and will be shown off further on 4 May at the Intermag Europe magnetics conference. Sony says it wants to commercialise the tape but hasn't given a guideline on when these cartridges will come to market.

We love the idea of a future console using old school cartridges like the 8-bit machines of the past – but with huge amounts of data.

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