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Could HAMR spark a hard drive renaissance?

Hard drives may have lost the speed race to their SSD brethern, but new HAMR technology could see new monster capacity HDDs make their way to market.

HDD platter with Seagate logo

The humble hard drive could soon be seeing something of a refresh thanks to the implementation of HAMR technology, according to Seagate at least. Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording as it is called is an idea that has been around since the turn of this century, using a different material for the film that coats the drive platter that is precision-heated with a laser as the data is written.

Seagate has been trialing drives based on this technology for some time, including 3.5in hard drives of up to 16TB capacity, but they are not the only company making gains in this field and it seems that 2020 is the year that we’ll start to see the fruits of their labors.

Japanese hardware firm Showa Denko (SDK), the largest independent manufacturer of hard disk platters, is also making some bold claims about their advances with this technology.

Their new SDK platters use a platinum/iron magnetic alloy film and they claim that they are nearly at the point of full-scale production. SDK are claiming that their new drives could see a capacity, in a device the same size as an existing 3.5in disk, of up to 80TB. Seagate should be the first out the door with 20TB HDDs scheduled for later this year.

The drives themselves are touted as plug-and-play replacements for existing 3.5-inch drives, so there should be little discernible different from a consumer point of view, except of course for having borderline ridiculous amounts of storage space.