Seagate: 2nd Generation HAMR 30TB Hard Drives Nearly Ready
Perspective: Seagate has invested a huge amount of money and energy into the HAMR-based future of magnetic storage. The company now says it is almost ready to introduce its next-generation hard drives to both enterprise and consumer customers.
The future of magnetic storage is in the third quarter of 2023 as Seagate announced its latest plans to mass-produce second-generation HAMR-based hard drives. In his last group call For investors, the storage giant has said the launch of its latest hard drive “platform” will be “ahead of schedule” as efforts to improve returns (and, of course, margins) continue.
Despite the dire situation the storage market is in right now, Seagate is looking to the future: Thermally Affected Magnetic Recording (HAMR) technology uses a laser diode attached to each recording head to “instantly heat up a tiny spot on a disc,” according to the company message. explainsso that the data bits written to the magnetic platter are smaller and more densely packed than ever, “while remaining magnetically and thermally stable”.
Seagate has already shipped a limited number of HAMR-based hard drives to select customers for testing, but the technology appears to be nearly ready for mass production of consumer and enterprise hard drives. According to Seagate, the speed of the initial ramp-up of HAMR “will depend on a number of factors,” such as product yield or customer qualification times.
In the first and second quarters of 2023, Seagate will continue to rely on traditional magnetic recording technologies to take hard drive capacity to the next level. In the first or second quarter, the company will release new models with 10 platters using perpendicular or conventional magnetic recording (CMR/PMR), cramming 2.2 terabytes per platter into a total capacity of 22 TB. Using slower magnetic recording (SMR) technology, Seagate will offer 24TB models to customers who wish to use it for “certain applications.”
Seagate estimates that second-generation HAMR platters will eventually be able to store 5 terabytes of data on a single platter, while early mainstream HAMR hard drives will offer “only” 30 terabytes of nominal capacity. 40TB HAMR hard drives are expected in 2024 or 2025, with 50TB models likely to arrive in 2026.
At the moment, the main problem with HAMR drives is resource, and it will remain so in the coming years. In 2023, the market share of HAMR-based hard drives is likely to still be “relatively low,” according to Seagate. Major production improvements should occur in 2024 with further acceleration in 2025. The performance boost will allow the heating technology to be used in mid-range or even low-end hard drive models.