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In this study, the effects of CoCrPtTa and CoCrPtB magnetic intermediate layers (ILs) on the magnetic properties and read/write performance of CoCrPt/soft magnetic layer perpendicular recording media were investigated. Even though the perpendicular coercivity of the media with these ILs was reduced by 500 Oe, these media still showed a low exchange slope of 1.4 and a large negative nucleation field of about -1000 Oe. Additionally, the reduced grain size of the media with these IL was observed by transmission electron microscopy. From the read/write test, these media with ILs showed improved performance of 3–5 dB higher signal-to-noise ratio and overwrite ratio (OW) compared to the media without ILs. These enhancements could be attributed to the reduction of grain size of the magnetic layer and weakening of the intergranular interaction between grains by insertion of the IL. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.