At the CEATEC expo in Japan last week TDK showed off the latest advancements in new heads for HDDs that support heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) technology. The first disks based on this technology may hit the market in late 2015 or early 2016, they are expected to feature capacities of up to 15TB. At first the technology will be targeted at data centers but later it will migrate to consumer HDDs.
HAMR-based HDDs will use laser thermal assistance to first heat the platter to allow much higher storage density without having negative effects on read- and write-ability nor stability.
Capacities of modern hard drives are – among other things – constrained by the physical size of “pitches” on hard disk drives media required to store a single bit of information. Heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) magnetically records data on high-stability media (such as iron platinum alloy) using laser thermal assistance to first heat the material, which allows to greatly reduce the size of “pitches” without negative effects on read-ability, write-ability and stability. As a result, HDDs featuring HAMR will be able to store considerably higher amounts of data than today’s hard drives featuring perpendicular recording tech.
Previously it was believed that HAMR will only become viable sometimes in 2017, but in the recent years TDK, Seagate and Western Digital intensified their HAMR development and even demonstrated working HDDs featuring the technology.