A key factor of MAMR, Western Digital claims, is that it doesn't suffer from reliability and material science challenges which abruptly halted HAMR's areal density expansion plans.
According to WD, current heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) technologies are reaching their limits in terms of performance and capacity, but MAMR promises to be able to improve both capacity and performance. "While the company didn't share the precise density of its prototype design, it did claim that MAMR technology should lead to areal densities of four terabits per square inch (4Tb/in²) and 3.5" hard drives of 40TB capacity 'and beyond' by 2025.
That gives MAMR a 100-times better data writing lifetime than HAMR, letting Western Digital talk about hard drives with up to 40 TBs and more in capacity with 2.5 million hours of reliability and a five-year warranty, he said.
The first MAMR hard-disk drives will be running in data centres by 2020, according to WD, but will quickly find their way into an array of different products, including consumer products, according to IDC. It builds upon a number of other leading innovations from the company.
The event, held at the company's headquarters in Silicon Valley, included a demonstration of the world's first microwave-assisted magnetic recording (MAMR) HDD and presentations from company executives and the inventor of MAMR technology, Professor Jimmy Zhu from Carnegie Mellon University.
Western Digital has a nice new video which demonstrates all of their HDD innovations, including the new MAMR. The concept isn't new - the original patent for using heat to increase the stability of magnetically-stored data was granted in 1954, and the technology itself saw brief usage in magneto-optical drives from the 1980s before writeable CDs cornered the market for low-priced write-once mass storage - but Western Digital claims MAMR is now ready for prime time.
WD also showcased advancements in microactuation and Damascene recording head technology. The Damascene process also provides the capability to embed the spin torque oscillator that enables the manufacturing of MAMR heads.
The demonstration of Western Digital's MAMR technology is the latest achievement in decades of HDD leadership from the company, including over 7,000 issued patents in HDD technology, on-going helium-enabled HDD technology advancements - as highlighted by the recent introduction of the world's first host-managed shingled magnetic recording (SMR) technology enterprise-class 14TB hard drive - and a long history of world's firsts in multi-disk design. They are going ahead full speed as sampling to OEM customers is.