When the first solid-state drives hit the market, it seemed almost certain at the time that the days of mechanical drives were numbered. Fast-forward to all of this time later, and we can see that’s not even close to being the case. For home users, SSDs have replaced at least the OS drive, and possibly even game drive, but for bulk storage, especially in the enterprise, spinning disks remain much kinder to the wallet.
In the summer, Seagate announced that it was releasing 16TB Exos and IronWolf drives, but we knew that bigger drives were coming – we just didn’t know exactly when. But before moving on from those, we can’t help but notice just how much those 16TB models dropped in price since June. At launch, the Exos 16TB retailed for $610, whereas now, it’s $417. The IronWolf 16TB, which was $665, is now $476. That is a lot of storage for the dollar.
But say you want more, or that you have the patience for something even larger. Well, according to Seagate (via AnandTech), we can expect to see 18TB drives launch at some point in early 2020, whereas 20TB drives will release later in the year. The 18TB drive is set to use CMR (conventional magnetic recording), whereas the even beefier 20TB will use SMR (shingled magnetic recording).
If it doesn’t seem like hard drives are actually increasing at a rapid rate, consider the fact that 10TB drives came out in 2016, and 16TB dropped just this year. If the expected release cadence goes off without a hitch, we will be seeing even larger drives over the next five years – capped with a 50TB model in 2026. Now that is truly mind-boggling to think about.