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Seagate: 20TB HDD Production Ramping, Dual-Actuator HDDs Gaining Adoption

Seagate
(Image credit: Seagate)

Seagate is ramping up production of its yet-to-be announced hard drives with a 20TB capacity, the company said in its latest earnings call. The drives use perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) technology with two-dimensional magnetic recording (TDMR) heads and are set to be generally available, unlike the company's current 20TB HDDs based on heat-assisted magnetic recording technology that are only available to select customers.

20TB Is Almost Here

"We began ramping 20TB products in the September quarter, and am thrilled with the strong customer interest," said David Mosley, chief exec of Seagate. 

Back in July Mosley said that the company was prepping 20TB PMR HDDs to complement existing 20TB HAMR drives shipped exclusively to operators of hyperscale cloud datacenters as well as inside the company's own Lyve storage systems. These drives have some specifics that prevent Seagate from shipping them to all customers, including the DIY market.

"[We] are now operating multiple varieties of 20 terabyte drive to meet the breadth of customer demand," said Mosley.

(Image credit: Seagate)

With 20TB HDDs, enthusiasts will get plentiful storage space in desktops and NAS systems at home. For example, a quad-drive NAS could store some 60TB of data in RAID5 mode offering both ample capacity as well as rather high performance (at least in HDD terms, but one can add a caching SSD to an appropriate NAS to get high speeds).

Dual-Actuator Adoption Is Growing

Perhaps more interestingly, but Seagate is also ramping up production of its dual-actuator Mach.2 hard drives. Initially, these HDDs were only available to select customers and the largest adopter was Microsoft, which developed a number of ways to benefit from two actuators. Seagate began to list its Exos 2X14 HDD in May, which signalled the company's readiness to offer such drives to a broader selection of clients.

"I am equally excited by customer reception for our Mach.2 dual-actuator drives, which are now shipping at large scale," said the head of Seagate. "As we were anticipating a few months ago, we are seeing greater adoption of Mach.2 drives for core and edge applications. The benefit from the read and write performance gains that we deliver with these products. We expect dual actuator drives to become more mainstream as capacities increased beyond 30TB, to support both cost and performance requirements."

Seagate's Exos 2X14 14TB HDD is basically two 7TB drives crammed into a 3.5-inch hermetically sealed helium-filled chassis. The device features a 7200 RPM spindle speed, is equipped with a 256MB multi-segmented cache, and uses a single-port SAS 12Gb/s interface. With a 524 MB/s sustained transfer rate (outer diameter), 304/384 random read/write IOPS, and a 4.16ms average latency, the Exos 2X14 is the world's fastest HDD that can challenge some SATA SSDs as far as linear read/write performance is concerned. The host system considers an Exos 2X14 as two logical drives that are independently addressable.

High Capacities Incoming

While solid-state drives and 3D NAND technologies are developing rapidly, for bulk storage hard disk drives are unchallenged in terms of cost per gigabyte, reliability, and longevity. To keep gaining capacity, HDD makers must adopt new energy-assisted magnetic recording (EAMR) technologies, such as HAMR or MAMR (microwave-assisted magnetic recording). Seagate bets on HAMR, whereas its rivals Toshiba and Western Digital use FC-MAMR (flux-controlled MAMR) and energy-assisted PMR (ePMR) for now. HAMR requires new glass media and new write heads, whereas competing technologies use disks with minimal (if any at all) changes from PMR media. 

Seagate is leapfrogging its rivals with usage of new disks and believes that HAMR is the best technology both for now and for distant future since the media used today is posed to be used in the long term. 

"Just to be super clear, HAMR is really the pathway to get to 30TB and beyond," said Mosley. "We are very confident about that right now."

Earlier this year Seagate said that its technologies will enable 100TB HDDs sometimes in 2030.

  • peachpuff
    I forsee a flood and prices will go up again...
    Reply
  • korekan
    well i think it will cost like $999? as for now 1TB is still at $40 for like a decade?
    i notice that 2TB starting to go lower to $50 but that just this year.

    i recall a decade ago i bought 1 TB for $40 and then couple weeks later flood in taiwan happened and then boom 1 TB going to $100 and it very slow to return to $40 tag i think it was around 4-6 years before that 1 TB goes that $40 low again.

    until more SSD storage introduced and the price of ssd kinda have more value though the capacity is half than HDD.
    Reply
  • dualkelly
    korekan said:
    well i think it will cost like $999? as for now 1TB is still at $40 for like a decade?
    i notice that 2TB starting to go lower to $50 but that just this year.

    i recall a decade ago i bought 1 TB for $40 and then couple weeks later flood in taiwan happened and then boom 1 TB going to $100 and it very slow to return to $40 tag i think it was around 4-6 years before that 1 TB goes that $40 low again.

    until more SSD storage introduced and the price of ssd kinda have more value though the capacity is half than HDD.
    I just purchased a 18tb for about USD $380 that's about $21 per TB. why in the world would you purchases a 1tb only hd? If you look for the sweet spot you can get as low as $15 per tb.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    korekan said:
    well i think it will cost like $999?
    Why would you think that?

    Here are some 18TB for under $400
    https://www.amazon.com/Seagate-ST18000NM000J-Internal-Surveillance-Supported/dp/B08K98VFXhttps://www.amazon.com/MG09ACA18TE-7200RPM-Enterprise-Desktop-Drive/dp/B09GXVX41Qhttps://www.amazon.com/HC550-18TB-512MB-SATA-Ultra/dp/B08NWF1X6Phttps://www.amazon.com/512MB-7200RPM-Ultra-Storage-DEVIC/dp/B08DHH8V9P
    Reply
  • korekan
    dualkelly said:
    I just purchased a 18tb for about USD $380 that's about $21 per TB. why in the world would you purchases a 1tb only hd? If you look for the sweet spot you can get as low as $15 per tb.

    the thing is we dont have same budget.
    i would never compare price if i can afford it just pick the fastest, bigger i can buy
    also why 1 TB still exist after 1 decade? i think at the price of 1 TB right now at least it should be 4/6TB

    USAFRet said:
    Why would you think that?

    Here are some 18TB for under $400
    https://www.amazon.com/Seagate-ST18000NM000J-Internal-Surveillance-Supported/dp/B08K98VFXhttps://www.amazon.com/MG09ACA18TE-7200RPM-Enterprise-Desktop-Drive/dp/B09GXVX41Qhttps://www.amazon.com/HC550-18TB-512MB-SATA-Ultra/dp/B08NWF1X6Phttps://www.amazon.com/512MB-7200RPM-Ultra-Storage-DEVIC/dp/B08DHH8V9P

    its double actuator the performance might 1.5 times or might reach 2 times than single. for 64MB vs 256MB cache its already have different price tag.
    Reply
  • dualkelly
    korekan said:
    the thing is we dont have same budget.
    i would never compare price if i can afford it just pick the fastest, bigger i can buy
    also why 1 TB still exist after 1 decade? i think at the price of 1 TB right now at least it should be 4/6TB



    its double actuator the performance might 1.5 times or might reach 2 times than single. for 64MB vs 256MB cache its already have different price tag.
    You can find 1tb off newegg for like 15 bucks.
    Reply
  • Geef
    Now all we need to do is pray to the tech gods and maybe Amazon will accidentally send us a box full of these drives in place of our funny coffee cup order.
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    korekan said:
    well i think it will cost like $999? as for now 1TB is still at $40 for like a decade?
    i notice that 2TB starting to go lower to $50 but that just this year.

    i recall a decade ago i bought 1 TB for $40 and then couple weeks later flood in taiwan happened and then boom 1 TB going to $100 and it very slow to return to $40 tag i think it was around 4-6 years before that 1 TB goes that $40 low again.

    until more SSD storage introduced and the price of ssd kinda have more value though the capacity is half than HDD.
    There is a floor to how cheap a hard drive can be made. The way hard drives drop in price per capacity is by reducing platter count with higher data density platters and thus fewer read/write heads as well. Once you're down to one platter which 1TB drives have been forever as you noted, the price can no longer drop, if anything, it's surprising that inflation and other market conditions haven't made the prices at the bottom go up.
    Reply
  • PiranhaTech
    spongiemaster said:
    There is a floor to how cheap a hard drive can be made. The way hard drives drop in price per capacity is by reducing platter count with higher data density platters and thus fewer read/write heads as well. Once you're down to one platter which 1TB drives have been forever as you noted, the price can no longer drop, if anything, it's surprising that inflation and other market conditions haven't made the prices at the bottom go up.
    100% agreed. Adding to this: magnetic drives have so much metal and so many moving parts. There's the actuators (made with quite a bit of precision), the spinning platter, the case for the drives, etc. An SSD, on the other hand, is often a small circuit board with very few chips.
    Reply
  • derekullo
    60 terabytes of hard drives in a raid 5 with a 10^15 URE sounds like a terrible idea.
    Reply