The big problem with mechanical hard drives (HDD) lies in their construction. They are based on magnetic plates and a mechanical head that reads and writes the information. Both elements limit the read and write speeds significantly.
For their part, SSDs lack mechanical elements, something that gives them a great advantage. Being fully electronic, they can fully exploit the capabilities of the connection bus, be it SATA or PCIe.
32TB HDD for after summer
Seagate has published a roadmap of the storage drives they want to bring to market. All these units are based on the technology of heat assisted magnetic recording (HAMR). It is a new solution that allows increasing the amount of data written to each platter.
Within the roadmap we can see that the company plans the launch of the HAMR Mach 2 up to 32TB by Q3 2023. The thing does not stop there, since in 2024 the company plans to launch 40TB drives.
The company currently offers IronWolf Pro drives up to 22TB. These NAS HDDs are highly specialized drives for intensive read and write processes. Seagate would have planned, also in the Q3 2023, expand the range with units of 24TB and 28TB based on the technology of perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR)
One of the most interesting data that the company has given is regarding the construction of its HDDs. The PMR-based 24TB and 28TB models have 10 drives and 20 heads. Interestingly, the 32TB drives HAMR will also have internally 10 discs and 20 heads. They have also explained that the 40 TB models that they would launch in 2024 will have 10 disks and 20 heads.
These data, which may seem insignificant, tell us that Seagate is managing to increase the density of information written on each plate. They highlight from the company that they already work with 50TB drives where each plate can store 5 TB of data.
Meanwhile the SSDs…
While solid-state storage drives are great, there’s still the issue of capacity. PCIe 5.0 SSDs also have serious temperature problems. So much so that we see units with large heatsinks with a built-in fan.
One can go to the market and count on the fingers of one hand the 8 TB M.2 SSDs that are out there. Not that it matters much either, since they’re worth more than some high-end graphics cards from NVIDIA, which is saying something.
The industry has let the SATA connector die in favor of the M.2, being a brutal mistake. The current M.2 connector is a chestnut that prevents the use of 50% of the unit. The face that is facing the motherboard does not allow memory to be installed, since there is no way to dissipate heat.
The M.2 connector needs a reformat and look more like the DIMM socket for RAM memory. As long as the M.2s remain in the same format as before, we will not see SSDs larger than 4TB on the market.