To meet these capacity goals, Seagate is embracing new magnetic recording technologies, and to ensure the high performance of its future drives is maintained, the company plans to leverage its multi-actuator technology more widely. This technology will double the performance of your hard drives and could become the standard in some of the company’s product lines.
100 TB hard drives, how and when?
Seagate says they are already on track to bring 50TB hard drives to market, arriving sometime in 2026, and that four years later they will have doubled capacity to bring 100TB drives to market. Right now Seagate is selling 3.5-inch, 20 TB capacity drives based on Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR). This technology will allow Seagate to increase the areal density of the platters at a 20% compound annual growth rate, which means further advancements for capabilities in future years.
In an attempt to build a 40TB nine platter hard drive, Seagate needs to increase the areal density of its media to around 2600Gb per square inch (2.6Tb / in2). Seagate has already achieved such areal density, although it is still unclear whether the company already has hard drive prototypes running such platters or just the tests on spinstands.
Regardless, Seagate already has media technology that will power its products for several years to come, but it will be three to five years before platters of this density hit the market, as the company still needs polish media technology and develop the right head, drive, controller and other components.
Modern hard drives based on Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR) technology use glass or aluminum platters with CoCrPt – SiO2 nanogranular magnetic films. HAMR discs are based on glass platters with high magnetocrystalline anisotropy magnetic films to ensure very small grains, and in particular Seagate uses an iron-platinum alloy for this.
Today’s HAMR media are expected to allow drives with capacities of 80-100TB according to the developers, but for 3.5-inch disks with capacities of about 105TB and a density of 5-7Tb / in2, it is they would need new neat granular magnetic films as the grains would become too small and thus the tracks too narrow. These ordered granular media are expected to be a relatively short stop before “full” bit pattern media technology comes into play with an area density of 8 Tb / in2.
Mechanical hard drives with twice the performance
We have already talked about this in the past; While increasing disk capacity is the primary focus of disk manufacturers, having 100TB disks that take several seconds to reach the end of the tracks doesn’t make much sense, so they are also working on improving performance and, To do this, they already have Mach.2 technology that literally doubles the performance of the disks.
For now, Mach.2 technology is still in the experimental phase and only in PMR-based discs, but the key is to get this technology to be implemented in HAMR discs designed for the commercial market, that is, to reach all users. When Seagate reaches capacities of 30 TB, something that will happen in the next two years in all probability, the technology of double actuator will be practically necessary to be able to obtain adequate performances. We’ll see what happens, but Seagate is quite optimistic about it.