In MIT’s Technology Review, Katherine Bourzac spotlighted Seagate’s latest step forward with Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR). HAMR is the next technology must-have to enable the disk drive to keep on truckin’ for another decade or so.
Bits are getting too small to hold their “charge” – a One or a Zero – with current materials and structures. HAMR drive media will be made so the bits are harder to flip. But that makes them harder to write.
The HAMR laser heats up each bit before it is written, relaxing the bit so it’s easier to switch to a One or Zero. The bit instantly cools down, again able to firmly hold that One or Zero.
Notable is that HAMR is beyond the Gee Whiz stage:
- Seagate demonstrated the ability to record reliably with the technology
- The prototype is made almost entirely out of components from today’s hard drives
- The writing head is also almost the same as what’s real today, modified to include the optics
HAMR and bit-patterned media may both be needed to get disk drives their next ten years. No worries! The disk drive industry’s middle name is Change.