Continuing the march of progress in the HDD industry, Seagate has revealed that they have started shipping their 16 TB PMR hard drives. In a quarterly earnings call last week, the company reported that the drives have been shipping since late March, with current shipments coming ahead of high volume production of the drives. Seagate in turn expects to kick off mass production in the second half of 2019, and by Q2 2020 the new 16 TB drives will be its highest revenue SKU. What is particularly noteworthy here, besides the capacity of course, is that these drives do not use next-generation heat assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) technology. Instead, they’re based around conventional magentic recoding (which is a new way to call perpendicular magnetic recording, PMR), which is being boosted by two-dimensional magnetic recording (TDMR).
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For a number of years Seagate has implied that HAMR will be first used for 16 TB drives, so the unexpected shift to CMR + TDMR raises several question about the the state of the market and the technology. Is the delay client-driven, with the company’s clients wanting to stick to proven technologies for another round? Or, since HAMR HDDs use different components (new media, new heads, etc.), do the manufacturing costs of HAMR hard drives present a hurdle to manufacturing and/or client adoption? Or is the change in plans due to something else entirely?
At MWC 2019, SanDisk announced that it will be releasing a 1TB MicroSD card in April 2019. The 1TB card will retail for $449.99.
I thought I had a lot of storage with my 512gb Note9 with a Samsung 400gb MicroSD card, but with the Note 10 likely to offer a 1TB storage option (as the S10+ does), 2TB of phone storage is right around the corner.
(And just in the nick of time in my case.)
A few days ago, Samsung’s Germany website published images of its new line of EVO Plus MicroSD cards which included a 512gb card. Today, AnandTech reported that Lexar announced its 512gb MicroSD card, which also meets the A2 Application Performance Class standard.
Retail price for these cards is likely to be in the $300-$330 range. Personally, I’m looking forward to throwing one of these into my Galaxy Note 9 so I can up my total phone storage up to 1TB (also, my 400gb Samsung MicroSD card only has about 14gb free).
Here’s hoping that these hit Amazon before the end of 2018.
WinDirStat is a “disk usage statistics viewer and cleanup tool for various versions of Microsoft Windows.” Its main advantage is that it produces nice looking visualizations of exactly what is taking up all that space on hard drives.
There is a very similar app for Android called DiskUsage that will do the same thing for phone/microSD card storage.
Interesting YouTube videos showing how hard drives are made at a Western Digital and Seagate factory, respectively.
AnandTech.com has an interesting look at Western Digital’s recent announcement that it will be moving forward with production of mechanical hard drives using microwave-assisted magnetic recording (MAMR).
Essentially what MAMR does is add a device to the write head of the hard drive to generate microwaves. The microwaves make it easier to write to smaller areas of the hard drive, allowing for capacity increases on the platter.
In its press release hype over the technology, Western Digital claims that MAMR will allow it to increase hard drive sizes to eventually reach a 40TB 3.5″ hard drive by 2025.