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Seagate likely to launch 24TB hard drive in 2021

HAMR
(Image credit: Seagate)

Speaking at this year's Bernstein's Operational Decisions Conference, Seagate CEO Dave Mosley revealed that hard drive maker will use Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) technology to substantially increase the storage capacity of its drives.

As reported by Block & Files, Mosley said the company will move from its first 20TB HAMR technology to a 24TB hard drive next year, completely skipping over a 2TB intermediate step.

By temporarily heating the disk material during the writing process, HAMR technology significantly enhances the amount of data that can be stored on a magnetic hard drive which allows for more data to be written in the same area.

However, HAMR drives cost more to produce than drives which utilize perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) technology due to the fact that each head must also have a laser heating diode.

Going all in on HAMR

In order to write off the initial cost of its investment in HAMR technology, Seagate plans to use it across a number of drives in its disk drive range.

At the conference, Mosley explained that HAMR technology could also be used for lower capacity 12TB and 16TB drives in addition to its upcoming 24TB hard drive. Doing so will allow the firm to take out platters and heads while offering the same capacity which will help cut costs.

However, Seagate's biggest rival Western Digital believes that using microwave assisted magnetic recording (MAMR) in its drives is a better way to push disk drive capacity levels to 20TB and beyond. One of the benefits of using MAMR over HAMR is the fact that drive read/write heads don't require the addition of a laser heating element.

Mosley defended HAMR technology over MAMR in his speech at the conference, saying: 

“We know MAMR really well. It’s a viable technology, but it’s, again, a small turn of the crank. What we believe is that HAMR, largely because of the media technology, the ability to store in much, much smaller grain sizes with better signal noise, with much more permanence, we believe that HAMR is the right path.”

Only time will tell as to which technology wins out in the long run but Seagate has firmly placed its foot in HAMR's camp and we'll see how well this plays out with the release of its 24TB hard drive next year.

Via Block & Files