Seagate revealed on Monday its milestone achievement in storage density of one terabit per square inch.
Seagate, the world’s number two hard drive manufacturer based on market shares, announced in a press release on Monday that it has achieved the milestone storage density of 1 terabit per square inch using technology that promises to produce hard drives with twice the storage capacity of today’s Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR). Still in its infancy, Seagate indicated that this new technology would not be for commercial storage solutions until “later in this decade”.
Current hard disk drives use the technology called Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR), introduced in 2005 as a replacement for the original longitudinal recording method used since the birth of spinning hard drives. Seagate expects PMR to reach its maximum capacity of one terabit per square inch over the next few years.
“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.”
With HAMR, Seagate has reportedly attained a linear bit density of about 2 million bits per inch (1 terabit per square inch). This is about 55 percent higher than today’s density limit of 620 gigabits per square inch.
The company says that the first-generation HAMR hard drives will be 6TB in the 3.5-inch drives and 2TB for the 2.5-inch models. The theoretical areal density limit ranges from 5 to 10 terabits per square inch, or 30TB to 60TB for 3.5-inch drives and 10TB to 20TB for 2.5-inch drives.
The one terabit per square inch demonstration unit extends a long line of technological firsts for Seagate:
- 1980: ST-506, the first hard drive, at 5.25 inches, small enough to be widely deployed in early microcomputers, the precursor of the modern PC. The 5MB drive cost $1,500.
- 1992: The first 7200RPM hard drive, a Barracuda ® drive
- 1996: The first 10,000RPM hard drive, a Cheetah ® drive
- 2000: The first 15,000RPM drive, also a Cheetah hard drive
- 2006: Momentus ® 5400.3 drive, a 2.5-inch laptop drive and the world’s first drive to feature perpendicular magnetic recording technology
- 2007: Momentus FDE (Full Disk Encryption) drive, the industry’s first self-encrypting hard drive
- 2010: Momentus XT drive, the first solid state hybrid hard drive, combining traditional spinning media with NAND flash, to deliver speeds rivalling solid state drives (SSDs)
Nevertheless, it would take years before hardware junkies could lay their hands on an HAMR drive.