Western Digital HDD capacity hits 28TB as Seagate looks to 30TB and beyond


Enlarge / Western Digital is gearing as much as pattern its first 28TB HDDs to prospects, round a yr after saying its first 26TB drives.

Western Digital

After a few a long time of speak, Seagate introduced earlier this year that it was delivery samples of giant 32TB arduous drives utilizing heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR). The brand new type of drive expertise makes use of lasers to warmth disk platters throughout writing, making it attainable to retailer extra information on a disk with out rising its bodily measurement.

However there’s nonetheless a bit extra capability to be wrung out of older and more-proven recording applied sciences like perpendicular (or standard) magnetic recording (PMR/CMR, typically used interchangeably) and shingled magnetic recording (SMR); Western Digital introduced this week that it is getting ready to pattern big 28TB arduous drives based mostly on these applied sciences, somewhat over a yr after announcing its first 26TB model.

Based on Tom’s Hardware, WD makes use of energy-assisted perpendicular magnetic recording (ePMR) to suit as much as 24TB of information on a single drive. SMR permits magnetic tracks to overlap barely (just like the shingles on a roof), permitting barely extra information to suit onto the identical bodily platters on the expense of write efficiency—this boosts the capability of those drives to 28TB.

Throughout its most up-to-date earnings name, Western Digital CEO David Goeckeler reiterated that 28TB wasn’t the top for its ePMR and SMR-based arduous drives. Previous roadmaps have indicated that 30TB and 32TB SMR drives must also be attainable, although these drives aren’t prepared for sampling to Western Digital’s prospects but.

Western Digital is engaged on HAMR-capable drives, too, however the firm doesn’t think they’re going to be obtainable in quantity till late 2025 on the earliest. Seagate expects to ship its first 32TB HAMR drives earlier than then, and the corporate has already talked about HAMR drives as large as 50TB being examined in its labs.

Western Digital’s earnings are buffeted by a few of the identical forces affecting different PC {hardware} and software program firms like Intel and Microsoft. The corporate’s earnings for This fall 2023 had been down 5 p.c yr over yr, principally pushed by an 18 p.c drop in income for its cloud enterprise. Its shopper and client companies—drives offered to PC makers and on to shoppers—grew barely. This time final yr, all three divisions had been down by double digits in comparison with 2022, so the post-pandemic PC droop may very well be bottoming out.

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