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Seagate's 20TB HAMR HDDs are due to ship this December - 50TB capacities are expected in 2026

HAMR will bring about the future of HDD storage

Sagate's 20TB HAMR HDDs are due to ship this December - 50TB capacities are expected in 2026

Seagate's 20TB HAMR HDDs are due to ship this December - 50TB capacities are expected in 2026

Seagate has confirmed that their first 20TB HAMR-based HDDs are due to ship this December, allowing the company to push past the storage density limitations of traditional HDD technologies. 

HAMR (Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording) technology allows HDD manufacturers to create storage drives which offer more storage density than existing hard drives, allowing more data to be present within each writable disk within the drive. 

While 20TB drives are larger than any of today's HDDs, these capacities are far from the potential limitations of HAMR. In 2026, Seagate plans to release 50TB HDDs, offering a 150% increase in storage density over this year's already impressive 20TB HDDs.

How does HAMR work? 

Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording is not a new concept, using a small laser to heat an HDD so that weaker magnets can be used to write to the drive's surface, allowing data to be imprinted on a smaller area, therefore increasing the capacity of an HDD. 

The downside of this technology is that constantly heating the surface of an HDD will reduce the strength of each of the drive's hard disk. Reliability is the main factor which prevented HAMR HDDs from hitting the market, but Seagate seems confident that they have mitigated these issues. 

Sagate's 20TB HAMR HDDs are due to ship this December - 50TB capacities are expected in 2026  

Alongside HAMR, Seagate also plans to release multi-actuator MACH.2 HDDs, enabling faster read/write speeds by adding parallelism to their HDDs. With MACH.2, HDDs can feature to independent actuators for read/write operations, allowing a doubling or potential IOPS per drive. This technology is vital for Seagate, as it allows the company to maintain high levels of IOPS/TB with their drives, a key characteristic given HAMR's promised density gains. 

IOPS per TB remains an important factor for data centers, making Seagate's multi-actuator technology critical for the long-term utilisation of mechanical storage mediums. Multi-actuator technology adds parallelism to future HDDs, maintaining high IOPS metrics while capacities continue to scale. In theory, Seagate's MACH.2 technology will scale beyond twin actuators, possibly creating MACH.3 (three actuators) and MACH.4 (4 actuators) technologies in the future to maintain optimal IOPS/TB levels. 

Seagate's deployment of HAMR and MACH.2 HDDs will be critical for the company, as they will need to showcase that both technologies are reliable as they prepare to combine both techniques into a single product. At this time it remains unknown how long it will take before we start to see Multi-Actuator and HAMR-based HDD in the mainstream market, as right now both technologies are ideally positioned to target the enterprise market.   

You can join the discussion on Seagate's plans to ship 20TB HAMR-based HDDs in December on the OC3D Forums

Sagate's 20TB HAMR HDDs are due to ship this December - 50TB capacities are expected in 2026  

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