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Areal density capability of a recording system is traditionally determined in two steps. Linear density is first determined by on-track error rate. Track density is then determined by off-track read capability (OTRC) at the linear density chosen in step one (IEEE Transactions on Magnetics, vol. MAG-26, no. 5, pp. 1689-1693, Sep. 1990). With advances in technologies and changes in drive requirements, this traditional method does not necessarily reflect the current requirements and limitations of high density recording. In this paper, a new method to experimentally determine areal density capability is proposed. The limiting factors and demands to recording components will also be discussed.