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Seagate could win the storage wars by releasing the world's largest hard drive before WD

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If your PC’s hard drive is rapidly running out of space, then Seagate could have the answer to your prayers when it releases a hard drive with a whopping 20TB in 2020.

Seagate made the commitment to ultra-high capacity drives in a recent earnings call, and it claims it’s on track to launch 20TB hard drives using shingled magnetic recording (SMR) technology by the end of 2020 – and is aiming to release the world's largest hard drive before its rival Western Digital manages to.

If that seems too long to wait to store your rapidly growing amount of files, Seagate also confirmed that it will begin mass producing 18TB drives (using conventional magnetic recording (CMR) technology) for release at the beginning of next year.

Seagate’s 18TB hard drive will use the same nine-platter platform that is used with its Exos 16TB hard drive. This should mean that mass production for the larger 18TB hard drive shouldn’t be too problematic.

Begin, the storage wars have

By releasing an 18TB hard drive at the beginning of 2020, it means Seagate will maintain its lead over rival Western Digital when it comes to capacity.

While Western Digital has also stated that it will launch a 20TB hard drive by the end of 2020, its current highest capacity drive is a still-impressive 16TB.

If Seagate can get out its 18TB – and then 20TB – drives out before it’s rival, that will be a big win for the company.

It looks like we’ll be seeing rapid growth for hard drive capacities in the near future thanks to the switch to Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR), which allows disks to store data in smaller bits, which can be more densely packed, and can lead to much larger hard drive capacities.

(Image credit: Seagate)

According to a graph released by Seagate we could see hard drives with an astounding 50TB of storage space by 2026. 

Of course, but making hard drives that store that much data, the pressure is on Seagate and the like to ensure that these drives are very dependable. A 50TB drive that fails and loses all that data could be catastrophic for customers and companies.