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Discrete media show great potential for future ultra-high density magnetic recording. A hybrid finite element/boundary element method is used to compare the magnetization reversal process in a perpendicular granular film, patterned media, and a single magnetic island. The results show that the influence of magnetostatic interactions on the switching field is comparable with the spread of the nucleation field due to the dispersion of the magnetic easy axes. For CoCrPt, this value is about 75 kA/m.