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Seagate Reaches Terabit Areal Density Milestone

Seagate said on Monday that it has become the first HDD manufacturer to achieve the milestone storage density of 1 terabit per square inch. It was accomplished by using heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) instead of the traditional Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR) method. This achievement is expected to pave the way to 3.5-inch HDDs with 60 TB capacities possibly just over a decade away... if we're even using hard drives by then, that is.

"Hard drive manufacturers increase areal density and capacity by shrinking a platter’s data bits to pack more within each square inch of disk space," the company explains. "They also tighten the data tracks, the concentric circles on the disk’s surface that anchor the bits. The key to areal density gains is to do both without disruptions to the bits’ magnetization, a phenomenon that can garble data."

Yet by using HAMR technology, Seagate said that it has achieved a linear bit density of about 2 million bits per inch, resulting in a data density of just over 1 trillion bits, or 1 terabit, per square inch -- 55-percent higher than today’s areal density ceiling of 620 gigabits per square inch.

Seagate said that the first generation of HAMR drives, at just over 1 terabit per square inch, will likely more than double the capacities of the largest 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch hard drives on the market today, resulting in 6 TB and 2 TB drives respectively at the very least. With a theoretical areal density limit ranging from 5 to 10 terabits per square inch, capacities will likely reach to 30 TB to 60 TB for 3.5-inch drives and 10 TB to 20 TB for 2.5-inch drives.

"The growth of social media, search engines, cloud computing, rich media and other data-hungry applications continues to stoke demand for ever greater storage capacity," said Mark Re, senior vice president of Heads and Media Research and Development at Seagate. "Hard disk drive innovations like HAMR will be a key enabler of the development of even more data-intense applications in the future, extending the ways businesses and consumers worldwide use, manage and store digital content."

Seagate achieved the 1 terabit per square inch breakthroughs in materials science and near-field optics at its heads and media research and development centers in Bloomington, Minnesota, and Fremont, California.

  • tipmen
    Oh my, a drive that can hold all of my p0rn... I mean movies
    Reply
  • sounds interesting, how about also increasing read/write speed ? it would take ages to backup all that data
    Reply
  • weatherdude
    Goodness, I remember when PMR was the new sparkly technology ready to take the HDD world like a couple of years ago or something. Now HAMR looks set to do the same. *sniff* You engineers make me so proud with all of your science. Sweet magical materials science.
    Reply
  • Gigahertz20
    The bigger the hard drive, the more data you are going to lose if it fails. I don't think I would ever want to buy a really big hard drive to store everything on. If it fails, you are up shit creek. I'd rather buy several 2TB hard drives to throw into an unraid server or something, if one fails, no big deal, pull it out and put a new one in and let it re-populate the data.
    Reply
  • balister
    Gigahertz20The bigger the hard drive, the more data you are going to lose if it fails. I don't think I would ever want to buy a really big hard drive to store everything on. If it fails, you are up shit creek. I'd rather buy several 2TB hard drives to throw into an unraid server or something, if one fails, no big deal, pull it out and put a new one in and let it re-populate the data.
    You do realize that people will just RAID the large drives as well right? Thus being able to have the same level of fault tolerance you're talking about, but with more space. The only downside in having large drives in a RAID situation where you have fault tolerance (something other than RAID 0), it will just take longer to rebuild the fault tolerance when a drive dies.

    Likewise, as drive size goes up, cost per G(T)/B goes down. Just take a quick look at NewEgg some time and note the price difference between a 500 GB drive, a 1 TB drive, and a 2 TB drive. The price per GB is lower on the 2 TB than the other two and the price per GB on the 1 TB is lower still than the 500 GB drive.
    Reply
  • How many 3D 4K resolution porn videos does it take to fill up a 60TB hard drive?
    Reply
  • bin1127
    tipmenOh my, a drive that can hold all of my p0rn... I mean movies
    Porn; movies; all the same. No plot and bad acting.
    Reply
  • fuzzion
    I will stick with my SSD and HDD 1tb config. Most movies,shows and music still occupy less than half my drives.
    Reply
  • memadmax
    If they want to stay in the game with regards to SSD, they had better put this tech into high gear and make it faster than other hard drives.
    Reply
  • EzioAs
    People keep complaining about larger capacities, higher fail rates. Well, that's what they said when the first 1TB storage drives came out and smaller ones before them. Now we see most people opt for either a single 1TB or 2TB or 3TB drive. Get real, people!
    Reply