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.

via Ars Technica and Guru3D

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9 replies on “HAMR technology could lead to 80TB hard drives (with 20TB HDDs coming this year)”

  1. The upcoming death of spinning disk hard drives has been greatly exaggerated. Will they continue to lose market share? Of course. But millions of units will continue to be sold for years to come. I trust HDDs more than SSDs for long term storage. All of my computers have an SSD as their primary drives but the house network and all secondary drives are spinning disks. With TBs of data being stored (much not accessed that often) HDDs are much cheaper.

  2. it kinda sucks how quickly hard drive technology has advanced i’d really like to have a backup medium for this much data, but there isn’t any available.

  3. Of course these new hard drives, like a lot of current ones, already lost their prime advantage over flash. All modern drives have a maximum write limit now. Gone are the days when one simply didn’t care how much write activity you hit a drive with because it had zero impact on service life. You could run a mail or news server 24/7/365 and it had little impact. Now they all track writes and specify a maximum number beyond which you void the warranty.

    1. The number of consumers and even prosumers who exceed the warranty limits of an SSD is very small. The vast majority of SSDs out there today won’t even get half-way, and most not even 25% of the way there.

  4. I would think the majority of the HD business would be with cloud. I typically buy one HD every two years.

    1. Except for HDDs that come with the laptops I’ve bought (it was always much cheaper to upgrade to SSDs afterwards) in the last10 years I bought two 2TB drives for my NAS and one external 4TB drive as a second backup, and can’t envision buying any more in the foreseeable future, except to replace failed drives.

      I used to save a bunch of mp4 files of recorded TV shows and DVDs, but with the advent of affordable streaming, and the sheer volume and variety it offers, I just don’t see the point anymore. If I want to watch something again (which is rare) it’s almost always available somewhere.

      Other than that, critical personal files are stored (encrypted) on the cloud, and code is in private repositories on GitHub, and the only ongoing use of HDD storage I have left are system backups simply because restoring a drive is far easier than reinstalling from scratch.

  5. This merely extended the lifetime of HDDs.
    SSDs are still on the path of killing them, thanks to lower operating energy, noise, error rates, and much much faster speeds.

    Soon (within 10 years?) we will virtually have all Cloud/Server systems using SSDs, probably with ARM chipsets as well, connected to the web via Fiber Optics/5G and maybe relying on a Lithium Battery Power Wall as a fallback for any AC power outages.

    Just look at all that bandwidth needed for Snapchat, YouTube, Netflix, and High-Quality Gaming on something like GeForce Now.

    1. Spinning rust drives connected to an authentic raspberry pi is a great nas for most users. SSD might be needed to saturate the fast gigabit Ethernet though..

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