TOM’S HARDWARE GETTING STUPID

Today some post over Seagate surfacing with 100TB disks by 2030 get back to be in 2030 as new technologies are emerging all the time and some of them are disruptive.

Having used every hard disk technology out there and there have been lots of them the material over at Tom’s is stooping to new lows.

The limitation of traditional as well as perpendicular magnetic recording is due to the competing requirements of read, write and stability (known as the Magnetic Recording Trilemma). The problem is that to store data reliably for very small bit sizes the magnetic medium must be made of a material with a very high coercivity (ability to maintain its magnetic domains and withstand any undesired external magnetic influences).

The coercivity of many materials is temperature dependent. If the temperature of a magnetized object is temporarily raised above its Curie temperature, its coercivity will become much less, until it has cooled down.

Try heating a magnetized object such as a needle in a flame: when the object cools down, it will have lost much of its magnetization. HAMR uses this property of magnetic materials to its advantage.

At present the industry is testing HAMR recording technology and the idea is to heat the media more coercive to record data. The idea is fine on paper but building it has been long in coming due to the nature of hard disks generally.

Heat causes more friction and heating the media with a lot of writes will add some heat to the helium. This will increase the friction which the motor dive is not designed for. HAMR will require many refinements to the disk assembly to be sure it is very durable.

Let’s now look at the actuator show in this animated GIF format image. This does not have any real gains and only makes the disk the equivalent of two disks stacked. While more costly using two stacks of actuators opposite would achieve more gains in performance.

The Toshiba MG series disk shown with the cover off, This series are helium filled so that 9 plates can be squeezed into the assembly. The disk is very conventional and I can safely say that these disks are ideal for PC gamers who have a lot of games to store. Toshiba has a low failure rate which is very appealing.

Hard disks will be in the market for some time to come but SSD price are falling fast. The real question is how high can the SSD assemble be made before complexity gets out of control. Will SSD be able to continue to improve on the assembly or is there a physical wall. 96-layers or 144-layers how far can this be stretched.

Toshiba, Seagate and Western Digital have all spent a lot of cash on design for hear assisted media. The plates are also being studied by manufacturers as assess new materials. The heads have also been redesigned a few times. Disks are tough to design today due to the nature of the product.

Tom’s Hardware gets F- in storage design.