Seagate launching 32 TB hard drives later this year and 50 TB on the horizon
Remember the first hard drive that you bought? Hard drives have come a long way since the 1980s, when the first Gigabyte-sized hard drives hit the market.
Computer users have two main options today when it comes to internal storage: buy Solid State Drives, which beat platter-based hard drives in all fields but storage, and classic platter-based hard drives, which may offer way more storage than SSDs.
Currently, computer users may purchase 20 or 22 Terabyte drives for their devices, with prices starting at around $300 depending on maker and model.
Soon, the first 30 terabyte hard drives will become available, increasing storage capacities by 8 terabytes. Seagate announced plans recently to release its first 30 terabyte hard drive in the third quarter of 2023. The drive uses Seagate's Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) technology and consists of 10 disks and 20 heads according to Seagate.
The company has plans to extend storage to 36 terabyte and 40 terabyte in the near future, and is testing 50 terabyte drives in lab already as well.
Gianluca Romano, Seagate's Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, confirmed at the Bank of America 2023 Global Technology Conference on June 7, 2023, that Seagate shipped HAMR hard drives for qualification already and that it is usually taking several months. Seagate expects to see these making an impact on revenue in the next three to four quarters.
Romana provided additional details on the HAMR technology during the call: "When you go to HAMR, our 32-terabyte is based on 10 disks and 20 heads. So same number of disks and head of the current 20-terabyte PMR. The following product will be a 36-terabyte and will still be based on 10 disks and 20 heads. So all the increase is coming through areal density. The following one, 40-terabyte, still the same 10 disks and 20 heads. And also the 50, we said at our earnings release, in our lab, we are already running individual disk at 5 terabytes".
He notes that the technology allows Seagate to increase capacity "without increasing the cost per unit". Seagate plans to stop developing Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR) technology hard drives after the release of 24 terabyte capacity drives. Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) technology hard drives will stop at 28 terabytes, and everything above those capacities Seagate plans to be HAMR-based.
Seagate has not revealed pricing at this point, but hard drives with larger capacities are usually sold at a premium. The release of the first HAMR-based drives could drive the pricing of lower capacity hard drives down a bit. This would not happen overnight, but once the new capacity hard drives became available in sufficient numbers, it could reduce the price of 20 terabyte and lower capacity drives.
The average cost per Gigabyte has gone down since 2017, according to Backblaze, but has slowed down since 2020. The price per gigabyte dropped below $0.015 for the first time in 2021 for 14 terabyte drives and for 16 TB drives in 2022.
Large capacity hard drives are attractive to the industry and home users alike. Storage requirements have gone up in several key areas, including gaming and media. A single computer game may require hundreds of gigabytes of storage, or even more nowadays. While it may not be ideal to place these games on the slower platter-based drives, it may not make much of a difference depending on the type of game.
The rise of 4K video has also increased the requirement for large capacity hard drives. A single hour of playtime of 4K video takes up around 20-22 GB of storage already, with 8K video increasing that to 36-38 GB.
Now You: would you buy such a large capacity hard drive, if it would be priced reasonably?Advertisement