WD Showcases Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording Tech to Boost HDD Capacity

Do you associate with nerds, and more importantly, are you secure in your ability to convey the true meaning of the word? We ask only because you should certainly get prepared -- it's tough to talk about heat assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) technology without feeling a little nerdy. That said, the tech is pretty sophisticated under the hood, and could have very positive impacts for laypeople who simply want their devices and computers to work more quickly and efficiently. Western Digital has demonstrated its take on HAMR at the 2013 China International Forum on Advanced Materials and Commercialization.

WD’s vice president of technology, Dr. William Cain, had this to say: "Analysts predict 25 trillion gigabytes of new data will be generated by 2020 and that average household storage needs in the U.S. will require as much as 3.3 TB by 2016. This tremendous growth in data requires continued increases in storage capacity and performance for the cloud, big data and consumer technologies. WD is focused on hard drive innovations that will enable future storage capabilities, and HAMR technology is a key step in the migration path."

HAMR technology may offer a solution for increasing areal density (AD) by magnetically recording data on high-stability media using laser thermal assistance. The technology shrinks data bits in a stable manner by briefly heating the disk surface during magnetic head recording. The method can increase data density by a factor of more than 5 and ultimately results in storage capacities as great as 4 terabits per square inch.

WD is addressing the challenges associated with HAMR technology, including designing media that manages the increasing complexities of concurrently meeting magnetic, thermal and optical requirements; laser light path integration; and head-disk interface reliability and lifetime.

What's it mean for you? It means that we're inching closer to storage devices that can hold a staggering amount of data in a shockingly small space. We've been hearing about the virtues of HAMR for years now, but hopefully we're starting to see the light at the end of the commercialization tunnel.