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2020 is HAMR Time – Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording

HAMR Technology would allow for higher storage capacities on hard disk drives.


The idea of Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) for hard drives has been over a decade in the making, but now it seems the technology may actually be available on the market in the near future.

In 2002, hard drive manufacturer Seagate made their first press release announcing their goal to make HAMR technology the next step in disk drive evolution. Their idea was to make a new disk drive that could exponentially increase data storage while extending the life of the disk drive as a form of storage media.

Back in the early 2000s, it had already been predicted that within a five-to-ten-year period, storage density would grow at such a rate that it may cause problems, possibly making magnetic disk drives unstable. Fortunately, that doesn’t seem to have happened, yet. But the ever-growing need for more data storage means eventually we will run into a wall of sorts with the current medium we use. That’s where Seagate is hoping HAMR will come in to save the day.

How Does It Work?

Current disk drives use spinning platters in which magnetic heads read and write all the digital data. On these spinning platters, hundreds of GB of data can be written within a small area, totaling up to a TB or more in today’s disk drives. In fact, as time has gone, more data is being crammed into every space on these platters. But current disk drives may eventually run into an issue called superparamagnetism, which means there’s a limit to how small a ferromagnetic particle can be when used on these disk drives and the medium within.

HAMR circumvents this “wall” by approaching the medium within differently. By heating the medium with a laser, exactly where the data bits need to be recorded, data becomes easier to write. Meanwhile, the cooling that follows helps stabilize the recently written data. Through this method, Seagate believes that one can significantly increase the data density within a disk drive.

Where’s HAMR Technology Now?

HAMR is practically here and with more storage space than anyone predicted. Back in 2012, Seagate had been hoping to release a 6TB HAMR drive, but it didn’t get a chance to manifest. Fast forward to 2020—Seagate has been test driving a whopping 16TB HAMR drive with a select few customers for over a year now. With positive results coming out of their trials, Seagate has announced that they’re planning to provide HAMR drives with not 16 but 20TB sometime later this year. At the current rate of advancement, we may see 20TB of data storage this year. This growth also means it’s likely that with HAMR technology, we’ll be seeing storage capacities as great as 80TB in the next handful of years.

Seagate isn’t the only one working on HAMR tech. A rival hard disk manufacturer, Showa Denko, is also developing their own HAMR drive. While Western Digital is working on a MAMR drive (Microwave Assistant Magnetic Recording), they too have HAMR patents. The world of disk drive manufacturing is about to get heated again.

When Your Hard Disk Drives Fail

Secure Data Recovery invests in a dedicated R&D department to find the latest and most effective recovery methods for existing media and devices that will soon be available to the public. By getting a head start on recovery techniques for the newest media, we are prepared for those types of recovery cases. While the HAMR technology is still in the works, Secure Data Recovery remains an industry leader in recovery on other devices with an overall 96% success rate. We work on hard drives and solid-state drives as well as mobile devices and flash memory types. From the hard disk drives of today to the HAMR drives of tomorrow, when you need your data recovered, call Secure Data Recovery at 1-800-388-1266.

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