Making hard drives 100X more reliable and triple data capacity

The primary challenge with microwave-assisted magnetic recording (MAMR) involved the spin torque oscillator (STO)— and those issues have now been solved thanks to Western Digitals innovative STO breakthroughs.

Western Digital has produced prototype MAMR drives this year, and would give engineering samples to key customers in 2018 and start volume production in 2019. By 2025, further refinement of the technology would push capacities past 40TB. Currently the largest hard disk drive (HDD) that stores data on spinning disks can hold about 14TB of information. The bigger drives were made possible by finding a way to use microwaves to write data on 3.5in drives. The first bigger-capacity drives should go on sale in 2019.

Western Digital is able to demonstrate MAMR gains significantly above PMR by leveraging three breakthroughs: the design of a head structure in dimensions that allow for high track density, the selection of magnetic and non-magnetic materials that provide the right excitation and a manufacturing process that makes it feasible to mass produce at the required performance and reliability levels.

MAMR has inherently better reliability than HAMR. The temperature during write (Tc) is lower for MAMR. HAMR temperatures need to be above 650C during write, while MAMR recording temperature is similar to PMR. The higher heat required for HAMR impacts reliability of the media, head and interface materials. ”

Reliability tests show median head Time-to-Failure to be 100x better than with current HAMR head technology. Additionally, the 99.99% write lifetime target reliability is a million times better than HAMR.

They have reaching the limits of areal density growth on PRM alone, but growing MAMR areal density on our new 8-disk platform gives us strong capacity far into the future, and will enable the company to achieve a 15% CAGR in enterprise hard drive storage capacity.