Seagate is skipping the hard drive's funeral, plans to have 50TB HDDs in 2026

(Image credit: Seagate)

It was barely over a month ago when Jarred shoveled dirt on the mechanical drive, saying HDDs were dead to him because "even large SSDs are now affordable." He's not wrong. At the same time, Seagate says hold the boat—it's planning to launch more capacious HDDs in the near future, and if things go to plan, will have a 50TB HDD by 2026.

"Today, Seagate is the only company mass producing 16-terabyte drives, which are the capacity benchmark for the industry. We are preparing to ship 18-terabyte drives in the first half of calendar year 2020 to maintain our industry capacity leadership," Seagate CEO Dr. Dave Mosley said during an earnings call, a transcript of which is available at Seeking Alpha.

In addition to launching an 18TB HDD in early 2020, Seagate plans on introducing a 20TB sometime later in the year.

(Image credit: Seagate)

Seagate posted a roadmap in September that indicates its upcoming 18TB model will use the same conventional magnetic recording (CMR) technology as its 16TB model. Further out, however, the 20TB will be built around Seagate's shingled magnetic recording (SMR) technology. On how these differ, Synology's article on the topic offers a pretty good breakdown.

Looking ahead to 50TB capacities, by then Seagate will be using heat assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) technology. This works by having a small laser diode attached to each recording head heat up tiny spots on a disk, which enables the recording head to flip the magnetic polarity of each stable bit for recording data.

We'll have to wait and see how much these more capacious drives cost. Falling prices of NAND flash memory have made SSDs more affordable, and with Black Friday deals being right around the corner, upgrading to fast storage is more affordable than ever. At the same time, HDDs still offer more capacity for the money, which is a large reason why they've stuck around. Just imagine a NAS stocked with 50TB drives. You might be able to download Steam. All of it! The possibilities are endless.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).