Seagate recently announced 12TB hard drives and while some drives can sport a slightly higher storage capacity, that's about as much as current technology allows on a single consumer drive. Add Western Digital's latest findings into the mix, however, and those numbers are a thing of the past.
The company recently announced a new technique known as microwave-assisted magnetic recording (MAMR) that uses, as the name suggests, microwaves to significantly increase the storage capacity of spinning disk hard drives. Western Digital claims the technology will enable the creation of drives capable of storing as much as 40TB of data, letting you store 2,500 two-hour standard definition movies on a single device.
Other methods of increasing hard drive capacity do exist, such as heating up the drive, but the need to keep the platters at temperatures of up to 400C introduces challenges around cost and reliability, not to mention the potential hazard of keeping something so hot in your office desktop.
Moreover, the technology could be commercially available in as little as two more years, with Western Digital promising to provide prototypes to key customers by next year and volume production commencing the year after. By 2025, optimisations may even push storage capacities above 40TB.