Hot on the heels of Western Digital’s announcement of an MAMR breakthrough enabling 40 TB hard drives in the near future, rival Seagate announced a magnetic storage technology breakthrough of its own, dubbed HAMR (heat-assisted magnetic recording). This technology will enable the development of hard drives with over 20 terabytes (TB) unformatted capacity by the end of 2018, which is a faster ramp-up than WD’s 2019 timeline for the first MAMR-based drives. The first Seagate HAMR-based HDDs will ship with capacities of 20 TB, with the company promising 40 TB drives by 2023, well ahead of the 2025 timeline for 40 TB drives promised by WD.
Seagate HAMR is a fundamentally different technology than Western Digital MAMR. While MAMR relies on a spin-torque oscillator to generate a microwave field that burns finer magnetized bits on the disk, thereby increasing areal densities to 40 Tb per square inch, Seagate HAMR uses an extremely fine laser to heat up the RW head, creating finer magnetized bits. The physical layer of each bit is heated and cooled within nanoseconds, and hence a HAMR RW head draws relatively lower amounts of power – up to 8W for a random-write operation (the most power-consuming operation for a drive). Seagate promises RW endurance of 2 PB