Seagate has set some hefty goals for the next five years, promising 50 TB drives by 2026, and 30 TB offerings from just next year. The hard drive vendor shared its future roadmap at the launch of the Cool Eagle AI 20 TB HDD. Seagate is planning to fully transition from PMR (Perpendicular Magnetic Recording) and SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) to HAMR (Heat-assisted Magnetic Recording) this year, all the while expanding the use of its MACH.2 multi-actuator technology.
HAMR increases the storage density by 5-10 times over PMR, greatly pushing the upper limits of high-capacity HDDs. Thanks to the adoption of multi-actuator technologies such as MACH.2, transfer rates of next-gen mechanical drives will also be significantly higher. We’re talking about sequential transfer rates of up to 480MB/s, pretty much on par with SATA SSDs.
Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR): PMR or Conventional Magnetic Recording (CMR) is the oldest method of recording data to magnetic media. It works by aligning the poles of the magnetic elements (bits) perpendicularly to the surface of the disk. These magnetic tracks are written side-by-side, without overlapping.
Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR): SMR is essentially PMR on steroids. It increases the areal data density by overlapping each new track with part of the previous one, just like the shingles on a roof. This overlapping reduces the head thickness, thereby expanding areal density.
Heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR), on the other hand, offers a multi-generational leap in drive density by briefly heating the magnetic platter during recording. This makes the disks more sensitive to the magnetic effects of the read/write head, thereby allowing the recording of data to much smaller blocks. This increases the data density and the overall capacity of the drive.