Yesterday, I visited the Seagate Normandale Minnesota hard disk drive wafer fabrication facility. I’m super excited about HAMR (Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording) and the areal density it supports. Seagate’s Dave Anderson first introduced this to me technology nearly 20 years ago and it’s wonderful to see it delivered to market and the volumes ramping.
HAMR is a fundamental step forward in hard disk drive technology, but what I like most about the technology is the density headroom looking forward. It opens up a long-term roadmap with accelerated areal density growth: 3 terabytes per platter today scaling soon to 4 terabytes with visibility to 5 TB. That will deliver 50 TB disks. It’s hard to believe that my first Seagate hard disk drive was a 2 gigabyte (0.002 terabytes) Wren 9 back in the 1980s.
Spending a day with Seagate engineering really drove home the challenge of bringing HAMR to production volume. The heat assist laser has to be placed with nanometer precision, and the head has to be able to deliver full lifetime with the additional thermal stress.