Seagate just laid the HAMR (heat-assisted magnetic recording) down in the storage space by unveiling the world's first formatted and fully functioning 16-terabyte hard drive, the highest-capacity HDD ever produced.
Built for the enterprise market, the new 16TB model conforms to the standard 3.5-inch HDD form factor and, in theory, should work just fine in any modern desktop. It's part of the company's Exos family and will presumably ship with the same SATA 6Gbps and 12Gbps SAS interface options that other Exos drives do.
While not intended for the consumer market, it's only a matter of time before Seagate (and others) bring 16TB to home users. After all, Seagate already offers a 14TB model as part of its Barracuda Pro line for consumers.
The new 16TB model isn't just more capacious, though, it uses a different type of recording technology—HAMR instead of PMR (perpendicular magnetic recording). Here's a short video that breaks it down in plain English:
Seagate views HAMR technology as being key to enabling increasingly higher capacity HDDs. The company says it's on track to exceed 20TB in 2020, and could even reach 100TB within the next 5-7 years.
In an blog post from last year, Seagate defended the need for bigger HDDs, citing a recent IDC report predicting worldwide data creation will grow to 163 zettabytes by 2025. That's a tenfold increase in the amount of data that was produced in 2017.
As for the 16TB HDD that Seagate just announced, to put that kind of storage space into perspective, it could hold over 100 installations of Final Fantasy XV with the optional 4K high-resolution pack.