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Grain-to-grain anisotropy field variation has become one of the main causes of medium noise, especially in perpendicular thin film media. In this paper, we present an electron microscopy investigation and theoretical analysis on the grain-to-grain anisotropy field variation in various types of thin film recording media. In alloyed film media, the intrinsic grain-to-grain composition variation would present a lower limit on grain size, thereby limiting area recording density. It is also argued that partial ordering in L10 materials such as FePt would yield large anisotropy field variation, especially for low values of order parameter.