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Showa Denko K.K. (SDK), the company which controls one third of magnetic media for hard drives production on the planet, has revealed its roadmap. The company promised to start making seventh-generation platters for 2.5” hard disk drives with significantly enlarged capacity in the coming years. Furthermore, starting from 2014 Showa Denko expects thermally-assisted magnetic recording to arise.

“We will launch PMR 7G (650GB) in 2013, and lead the industry,” a statement from the company’s financial conference says.

Showa Denko plans to release 650GB platters for 2.5” hard disks in 2013, which will enable 650GB 7mm ultra-slim drives or 1.3TB high-capacity 9.5mm HDDs. Moreover, starting from 2014, Showa Denko intends to release hard drive platters that will rely on shingled magnetic recording (SMR) and thermally-assisted magnetic recording (TAMR) technology. TAMR is set to enable 750GB and 1TB platters for 2.5” HDDs, respectively.

It is noteworthy that Showa Denko has no plans for improved platters with higher areal density for 3.5” drives, which demonstrates erosion of desktops as primary personal computers for the masses.

SDK supplied 139 million platters to the big three hard drive market players – Toshiba, Seagate and Western Digital in the third quarter of calendar 2012 (data provided by Showa Denko citing market analysts). Therefore, any evolution at Showa Denko generally leads to higher-capacity hard disk drives at the primary HDD suppliers. Therefore, it is logical to expect hard drives based on SMR platters from Toshiba, Seagate and Western Digital and TAMR-based drives from the same companies in 2015.

The roadmap of Showa Denko shows that starting from 2014 hard drives will start to use magnetic media that relies on TAMR technology. Theoretically, this means increased capacity of all – both 2.5” and 3.5” hard drives, which is likely to be good for the market in general as well as the end-users in particular, as the HDD prices of the latter will become more flexible than they are today.

Tags: HDD, Showa Denko, Toshiba, Seagate, WD, Western Digital

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