Toshiba selects Showa Denko platters for MAMR HDDs

Showa Denko (SDK), the Japanese chemicals and electronics company, among other things, makes platters for disk drive makers such as Toshiba. A 2019 annual results report reveals it is making MAMR (Microwave-assisted Magnetic Recording) platters for Toshiba.

MAMR drives have read-write heads beaming microwaves at bit value locations on the platter to make the recording medium more receptive to write impulses from the head. They are an alternative to HAMR (Heat-assisted Magnetic Recording) drives which use laser-generated heat to accomplish the same purpose.

Toshiba 16TB MG08 disk drive.

SDK has also developed HAMR platter technology. Seagate is relying on in-house manufactured HAMR technology to take its disk drive capacities past 16 to 18TB and onwards to 40TB and beyond. Current PMR (Perpendicular Magnetic Recording) technology cannot get past a 16TB/disk barrier.

Western Digital is starting to deploy in-house developed elements of MAMR technology in its 18TB and 20TB drives.

Toshiba has previously indicated it is leaning towards using MAMR technology. This SDK report shows that it is serious about a MAMR push. The SDK MAMR platters hold 2TB each. The SDK report say they have been adopted by Toshiba Electronic Devices & Storage Corporation for use in MAMR-technology-based 18 terabyte near-line HDD.”

SDK began shipping the 2TB MAMR platters to Toshiba last year. This implies that Toshiba could announce an 18TB nearline disk drive later his year. Its current largest capacity disk is the 16TB MG08, which was announced in September 2019.

Shingled magnetic recording diagram

Blocks & Files expects a Toshiba MG09 18TB drive announcement later this year, possibly with an enhanced capacity shingled media drive with 20TB. These use the same platters but drive software causes wider write tracks to be partially overlapped so that more, and narrower, read tracks can be added to the platters.