SSDs may be faster and more durable than hard drives with spinning platters. But HDDs still have a few things going for them — they’re cheaper on a cost-per-gigabyte basis and the highest-capacity hard drives can store way more data than an SSD.
And it looks like that’s going to remain the case for a while longer, because several storage manufacturers have announced they’re ready to roll out new technology that lets you store even more data on a hard drive.
Heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) technology makes it possible to pack data more densely by using magnetic material that’s less malleable at normal temperatures… but which can be heated up with a laser when you want to write data to the disk.
Seagate says it’s already built and tested a 16TB hard drive for the enterprise market using HAMR technology, and the company plans to release 20TB or larger hard drives before the end of 2020.
Rival manufacturer Showa Denko says it’s also developing HAMR hard drives. While the company isn’t ready to say when they’ll hit the market, Showa Denko does say that the technology should theoretically enable 3.5 inch hard drives that can store 70 to 80 terabytes of data.
One of the nice things about this technology is that it doesn’t require customers to buy a new computer — the HAMR HDDs can be used as “plug-and-play” replacements for standard hard drives.
What remains to be seen is whether how they’ll hold up when it comes to speed, reliability, and other performance metrics.