Could 30TB hard disk drives be announced in 2022? We wouldn’t bet against it

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Aleksandr Grechanyuk)

SDK, one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of platters, the saucer-like components that store data inside hard disk drives, has announced that it has developed a new type of media that uses Microwave Assisted Switching-Microwave Assisted Magnetic Recording (MAS-MAMR) technology.

Developed in conjunction with Toshiba and TDK, the Japanese technology trio claim that MAS-MAMR can substantially increase HDD data storage capacity with “more than 30TB” the amount quoted in the company's press release.

Perhaps the most important aspect of the document, other than the aforementioned fact, is that SDK commits to accelerate the development of MAS-MAMR which Toshiba aims to put to practical use as the second generation of MAMR.

30TB in 2022?

SDK unveiled the first generation of MAMR earlier this year and Toshiba adopted it immediately with the release of the 18TB MG09 series in February 2021. Now that the next generation of MAMR platters have reached the market, could a drive bigger than 20TB, or even reaching 30TB be launched in 2022? We don’t see why not (or as someone once said, it will depend on market conditions).

Large capacity near-line hard disk drives, popular in data centres in web hosting, cloud backup or cloud storage applications, have stalled at around 20TB with nine and 10 platter designs from Seagate and Western Digital. Toshiba, the third hard drive manufacturer, has only released 18TB models for now but a 30TB hard drive could be key for some big wins.

And there are plans to go even higher as Rainer Kaese from Toshiba told us recently. 50TB hard disk drives are on the horizon for sure. Sadly, we don’t expect this announcement to have any impact on 2.5-inch internal HDDs which are popular inside external hard drives. These have plateaued at 5TB and that capacity is unlikely to increase.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.