What Is an EAMR Hard Drive, and How Does It Work?

by Ian Paul

A WD 18 TB hard drive.
Western Digital

Hard drives are like printers: the technology is so old and well-understood, there’s really nothing new happening. Besides, aren’t we all about NVMe and SATA SSDs these days?
Mechanical Hard Drives Are Still Big Business

While it’s true consumers have largely moved on, data centers are still looking for higher capacity hard drives. That’s why Western Digital (WD) developed new enterprise drives, which are packing what the company calls “ePMR” (energy-assisted perpendicular magnetic recording). For simplicity’s sake, we’ll stick with energy-assisted magnetic recording (EAMR).

In July 2020, Western Digital announced its new drives, including 16 and 18 TB Gold Enterprise drives, and an Ultrastar EAMR drive with a whopping 20 TB coming soon.

That’s some massive storage, and that much capacity in a single drive enticing. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to pack one of these 3.5-inch monsters in your tower anytime soon. For now, this is all about the enterprise.

Still, for the budding PC tech enthusiast, this technology is worth keeping an eye on.

What Hard Drive Manufacturers Are Chasing

Every computer component has something upon which engineers want to improve. When it comes to processors, they generally want to shrink the size and boost clock speeds. For hard drives, though, the focus is on packing more bits onto the same platter size.

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