Seagate continues to push the boundaries of hard drives and has just released the SkyHawk AI HDD, which is now available at a whopping 20TB. This is a unit aimed at network video recorders with support for some AI intelligence and it’s not really aimed at you and me, but still, it’s a good sign that Seagate is on the right track to deliver on its promise of 50TB hard drives by 2026.
In May of last year Seagate has released its Mach.2 Exos 2X14, which weighed in at an impressive 14TB and has since continued to release newer, denser drives. It now offers 20TB versions of the IronWolf Pro (NAS) and Exos X20 (Enterprise), with the recently announced SkyHawk AI being the latest model to receive the 20TB treatment.
This Exos was a bit of a special case, as it used the 12GB/s SAS interface to achieve its impressive 524MB/s sustained transfer rate – an interface you won’t find on normal gaming PCs. Seagate has released many drives since then, such as this one, settle for the more consumer-friendly SATA 6GB/s interface. It’s not as fast as the Exos mind, coming in at a sustained transfer rate of 260MB/s.
the wonderful name SkyHawk AI It’s not a unit you’d really want to put inside your gaming rig mind, as you’re paying more for technologies you’re not going to use. That said, $530 isn’t as weird as I’d hoped, and if anything it represents a good $0.03/GB, which will put even the cheapest SSD to shame.
The crux of it all, though, is Seagate’s original promise from last year, where it said we’d have 50TB hard drives by 2026. Not only that, but hard drives with sustained transfer rates that are competitive with SATA SSDs. .
To get there, he said he needed to transition from Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR) or Conventional Magnetic Recording (CMR) to Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR). The fact that it hits 20TB using CMR here is a good sign that hard drives still have a few surprises up their sleeve.
Of course, SSDs are also advancing, with speeds and capacities improving all the time. The imminent release of DirectStorage promises good things for fast SSDs, with 1s loading timesbut there is always room for a heavy hard drive in our hearts and in our machines as well.