Western Digital Unveils 18TB Hard Drive

Western Digital have announced the company’s first hard drives based on energy-assisted magnetic recording (EAMR) technology, with drives boasting a whopping 16TB and 18TB of storage.

The Western Digital Ultrastar DC HC550 3.5 inch hard disk drives utilise HelioSeal technology, and feature nine platters in both the 16TB and 18TB models. The drives use what WD is calling “energy-assisted magnetic recording (EAMR), allowing WD to build platters holding 2TB of data without using shingled magnetic recording (SMR). This new technology was announced by Western Digital nearly two years ago back in October 2017, when the hard drive company claimed it would result in drives with a capacity of 40TB by 2025. The improved recording technology that both WD and Seagate – who are opting for a process known as heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) – are developing is designed to ensure HDDs are cost-competitive, with the price of solid-state drives (SSDs) falling.

WD’s HAMR and HelioSeal technology is crucial for the hard drive company to ensure future drives are higher in capacity, more reliable, cost-competitive, and more energy efficient. WD claims the HC550 will be up to 58% lower power idle W/TB than 8TB Ultrastar air-filled HDDs, and a 25% higher mean time before failure (MTBF) than air-filled HDDs. The new drive features a top and bottom attached motor with a 7200 RPM spindle speed, humidity sensors, and other ways to boost reliability.

Western Digital are shipping samples of their new Ultrastar DC HC55 16TB and 18TB hard disk drives to clients later in 2019, with plans to ramp up production in 2020.  

WD Ultrastar DC HC550