New Seagate tech promises to double hard drive speeds

Unable to even come close to SSDs in terms of performance, hard disk makers have chosen to compete with capacity. A SSD over 1TB in size starts to become expensive, especially for consumers, so HDD makers Seagate and Western Digital have gone for massive capacity, introducing drives with up to 14TB of capacity.

But now Seagate promises greater speed thanks to a new drive head technology. Dubbed the multi-actuator technology, it’s a simple idea that’s been around a while but wasn’t economically viable in the past due to higher component costs.

Hard drive heads are connected to an arm called an actuator. This moves back and forth across the disk while the disk spins. Hard drives have multiple platters for storing data, and the actuator arms have drive heads on both sides of the platter, since data is written to both sides of the platter.

The actuators are all aligned and move together. So, even if you have a drive with three platters and six heads, covering both sides, only one drive head at any time is reading or writing. Seagate’s new design uses two sets of actuator arms that operate independently, so two heads can read at the same time instead of one. The drive can respond to two commands in parallel, so two heads can read or write at the same time, or you can have one reading and another writing.

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