New 10K and 15K RPM HDDs Incoming

Hard drives with 10K and 15K spindle speeds are used to store mission-critical applications and data that also require high performance. Such drives typically use a SAS interface with its advantages over SATA/AHCI. Plenty of legacy systems and setups still rely on these fast hard drives, and as a result these systems are not going to be decommissioned in the near future. Nonetheless, the total available market for ultra-fast HDDs with 10K and 15K RPM spindle speeds has shrunk in the recent years due of SSDs. This does not mean that speedy HDDs no longer evolve - Seagate informed us that it is preparing another generation of 10K and 15K RPM HDDs.

Seagate’s new generation of 10K hard drives will not only feature 10K RPM spindle speed as per the name, but also TDMR technology — two readers per head. Those readers will read one track to improve signal to noise ratio and enable higher capacities. Keeping in mind that we are talking about critical storage applications, HDDs with two readers per arm will keep using PMR or SMR recording technology, but eventually the tech could be used for HAMR-based drives.

When it comes to 15K HDDs, Seagate seems to be somewhat more humble or secretive. The company did confirm that it is working on at least one more generation of 15K hard drives. The high-performance SAS deployments are already there and someone needs to serve them, which is where the next-generation 15K HDDs may come in handy. Moreover, SNIA has a long roadmap for SAS towards 24 Gb/s transfer speeds and the year 2020 ahead of it, which is why it is important for Seagate to offer both HDD and SSD solutions for this market. The next generation of 15K HDDs could be the last generation of such hard drives, which is why it will have to offer a balance of features and technologies that Seagate does not want to discuss at this time. Perhaps, not because of competitive reasons, but because it is working with its customers to enable features that they need.

Nonetheless, as new data center platforms arrive, the need for 15K HDDs will inevitably decrease and Seagate understands that. For example, Intel’s latest SSDs for mission-critical applications rely on PCIe bus and NVMe protocol. As a major provider of ultra-high-end Nytro storage accelerators, Seagate will naturally follow market’s trends, but this is a topic to be covered by an SSD-related conversation.

Two-Dimensional Magnetic Recording Due in 2017 HAMR: Over 2 Tb per Square Inch, and Onwards
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  • Ushio01 - Wednesday, July 06, 2016 - link

    I wonder how much of this will ever reach market? as SSD's take over ever more of the storage market the remaining HDD manufacturers will be required to spend ever more on R&D while dealing with shrinking revenue. Reply
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, July 06, 2016 - link

    The consumer HDD market is slowly imploding, but while it's roughly half of all drives sold that's not where the money is. The Enterprise HDD market is doing better. Sales are down a bit; but while Seagate/WD/Toshiba don't break the two segments of enterprise drives out, it's probably from SSDs chewing into 10/15k drives in servers not the high capacity 3.5" drives used for bulk storage. Seagates comments about the next gen of 15k drives potentially being the last tends to back this up, since they're talking about multiple generations of other drive types.

    Bulk data storage will stay with spinning rust until the price per GB crosses over in SSDs favor. Estimates I've seen on that a year or so ago were looking at 2025; but there's a fair amount of speculation there since the results of a half dozen generations of tech in each platform are somewhat speculative.
    Reply
  • Anato - Wednesday, July 06, 2016 - link

    That patent [1] is clear example how current patent system is out of control and not useful to society at large. Short recap, patents original idea was to give temporal monopoly to inventor who disclosed his invention. There was no right to own anything you invented, but it was seen that disclosing the invention would ultimately benefit society who, after temporal monopoly, could use the invention.

    Now opposite is true, there is nothing useful disclosed in Seagates patent! But we grand Seagate sole ownership to use Gold with Cu, Rh, Ru, ... or Mo in concentrations of 0.5-30% in HAMR NFT. How does this benefit us?

    Of course Seagate can't stop WD to use same alloys as WD have similar patents to sue back, but they both can stifle smaller competitors. I don't think there will be any more competitors in HDD space, but same applies to other fields and their patents.

    [1] http://www.google.com/patents/US8427925

    [Disclosure, I didn't read full patent application, did cursory review and didn't find anything of value]
    Reply
  • Zak - Wednesday, July 06, 2016 - link

    I was wondering why HDs never broke the 7500rpm and 15000rpm barriers. Reply
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, July 06, 2016 - link

    For consumer devices: noise. 10/15k HDDs are obnoxiously loud like an >40x CD or >16x DVD drive; except that they're spinning constantly not just for the few minutes it takes to read/write them. On the enterprise side, I'd guess implementation difficulty; probably due to vibrations was the limiting factor. If not mechanical strength of the platters themselves was probably the issue. Top end centrifuges can go to at least 70k RPM; but can be built much more heavily than a thin platter can. Reply
  • metayoshi - Wednesday, July 06, 2016 - link

    Not just noise, but heat. In a constrained system like a laptop or desktop, the spindle and vibrations cause a ton of heat to be generated. Just look at WD's last consumer 10k drive, the 1 TB Velociraptor. It's a 2.5" drive that comes with its own heatsink for 3.5" bays. You definitely can't put that in a laptop, and it hits a market in the desktop space which has pretty much been taken over by SSDs. Reply
  • piasabird - Wednesday, July 06, 2016 - link

    Still using hard drives. No reason to switch when hard drives are so cheap. When I watch TV on the Internet, It still works so no reason to change. Reply
  • pavag - Wednesday, July 06, 2016 - link

    Kurzweil curse.

    Nobody accounts the relative speed of price reduction. SSD will get cheaper per gigabyte than SSD before 2020.

    We will never see HDMR HDD. And there is a chance we will not even get HAMR.

    And article speculating about the date when SSD will beat HDD for price per gigabyte would be interesting.
    Reply
  • serendip - Friday, July 08, 2016 - link

    I'm not sure about this. On my laptop, I've got a 120 GB SSD I got ages ago along with a recent 2 TB drive. Both cost about the same when new. I think HDDs will continue to get bigger and cheaper faster than SSDs, at least until some new process tech allows for very high flash densities and low production cost.

    The main issue is price. There are still lots of users (like me) who can't afford huge multi-TB SSDs to hold everything, so they have to make do with a boot SSD and a storage HDD.
    Reply
  • jabber - Wednesday, July 06, 2016 - link

    So you didn't bother to ask why Seagate's HDD reliability has nosedived since the floods a few years back? Reply

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