In an earnings call with investors this week, it has been confirmed that consumers will at long last get access to Seagate HDDs with capacities up to 20TB. Multiple consumer-focussed HDDs with capacities up to 20TB are going to be released in H2 2021 (between now and New Year) and they will be based on perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) and shingled magnetic recording (SMR) technologies. Dave Mosley, CEO of Seagate, told analysts and investors that "We expect to begin shipping 20TB PMR drives in the second half of this calendar year." For comparisons vs other manufacturers, PMR is sometimes referred to as conventional magnetic recording (CMR).
Currently, Seagate ships 20TB HDDs based on its heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) technology only to select partners and as components of its Lyve storage systems. So, it is good that regular consumers with hefty storage requirements are going to be addressed by Seagate later in the year.
A report published by Tom's Hardware says that the PMR-based 20TB HDDs from Seagate will feature two-dimensional magnetic recording [TDMR] enhancement. TDMR has been used by Seagate for years and is behind existing 14TB, 16TB, and 18TB HDD products.
Meanwhile, customers will be able to choose better value/TB SMR drives, should they be suitable for their intended purposes. This talk of CMR and SMR reminds me of the controversy of companies like Seagate and WD 'submarining' SMR drives into their storage portfolios. Tech buyer backlash caused storage companies to pledge better product labelling going forward.
We will get to know more about the "different flavours" of 20TB platforms coming soon from Seagate nearer release time.
Seagate's latest roadmaps, from March this year, shows that PMR drives are running out of road, but HAMR tech is expected to facilitate 50TB+ HDDs by the end of 2026. For capacities beyond this, Seagate is looking at new media, and leveraging undisclosed new materials (Graphene perhaps?) it aims to hit 100TB+ HDD capacities by 2030.