Seagate wants 40TB hard drives in two years

2023-11-08 21:22:30

Regularly, Seagate and Western Digital compete to become the company that offers the largest capacity for a hard drive. This time it’s the turn of Seagate, which has just announced that it will sell 32 TB hard drives in early 2024 and 40 TB models in about two years.

The hard drive market has evolved rapidly in recent years, with manufacturers focusing primarily on external hard drives and data center storage. A market segment that has long been the most important for them, that of internal storage in PCs, is currently non-existent: the enormous majority of computers have switched to SSDs.

Seagate’s roadmap.

To reach 32 TB in 2024 (incidentally, the company recently announced a release in 2023), Seagate va employer la HAMR technology (Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording) which consists of heating the disk in a very localized manner, which makes it possible to improve the way in which the chosen material reacts to magnetic fields and therefore in practice to increase the density. Obviously, the technology is still complicated to implement (or demand is low): Seagate plans to sell around a million hard drives of this type in the first half of 2024, a fairly modest number.

As explained Anandtech, Seagate also announces the release of 40 TB disks within approximately two years, that is to say between the end of 2025 and the beginning of 2026. Our colleagues indicate that the disks in question should integrate 4 TB platters, which implies that the company should remain on models equipped with ten platters. This is a limit that has existed for several years, and which has been made possible by the democratization of hard drives sealed with helium. This gas in fact offers lower resistance than air, which makes it possible to install more trays in the same volume and therefore increase the capacity.

To overcome this barrier, manufacturers may return to a solution that will revive the memories of some of you: thicker hard drives. This is a choice that has already been made in 2.5-inch hard drives: the large capacity models measure 15 mm thick, compared to usually 7 or 9.5 mm for those that were integrated into laptop PCs. Manufacturers returned to this value when the market for external HDDs took precedence over that of internal drives, to increase capacity at lower costs. But this solution is not necessarily feasible in data centers, given that many servers have strong volume constraints for the disks.

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