Toshiba N300 and X300: More HDDs with 18 TB and microwave technology (MAMR)

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Toshiba N300 and X300: More HDDs with 18 TB and microwave technology (MAMR)

Image: Toshiba

Toshiba first introduced FC-MAMR technology (Flux Control Microwave Assisted Magnetic Recording) to the server hard drives of the MG09 series with a model with 18 TB. Now the technology and the same storage capacity are also available in the HDD series N300 for NAS and X300 for PC and workstation.

MAMR only in commercial use at Toshiba

Western Digital initially announced HDDs with MAMR technology, but has now switched to ePMR and will probably only use MAMR at a later date. Seagate has at least publicly no plans with MAMR and relies on the laser-assisted HAMR. Toshiba is currently the only HDD manufacturer with MAMR products on the market.

The core of Microwave-Assisted Magnetic Recording is a spin-torque oscillator (STO), which uses microwaves to generate an additional magnetic field on the write head, thus helping to magnetize the data disks and accelerating the process. This means that a weaker magnetic field is sufficient for the writing process. This support is necessary because the tiny storage granules (grains) on the data disks, the orientation of which displays the information as 0 or 1, are further reduced in size on MAMR HDDs in order to increase the data density. In return, this requires smaller heads with more precision but a weaker magnetic field. Toshiba speaks of a Flux Control Writer (FC Writer).

N300 with 18 TB

The MG09, N300 and X300 have the basic structure with nine magnetic disks (platters) rotating at 7,200 rpm in a sealed and helium-filled 3.5-inch housing. The new series are simply geared towards other areas of application and offer slightly different equipment. The N300 designed for network storage (NAS) with 18 TB is equipped with RV sensors that are used to compensate for the effects of rotational vibrations. This supports systems with up to eight drive bays. Toshiba also advertises suitability for continuous operation and a workload of 180 terabytes per year with a 3-year guarantee period.

Toshiba specifies the maximum data transfer rate for the N300 18 TB with 281 MB / s, which is only slightly faster than the 16 TB model with 274 MB / s. The cache has a capacity of 512 MB. The power consumption should be 4.14 watts in idle and 7.48 watts in active use. The N300 models with helium filling (from 12 TB) are according to Toshiba At 20 dB in idle mode, it is significantly quieter than the air-filled models with 4 TB to 10 TB.

X300 with 18 TB

The X300 series does not offer RV sensors and is also not designed for continuous operation. The information on cache, power consumption and volume correspond to those of the N300, which shows that the 18 TB models use the same base. However, Toshiba does Product Pages no information on the transfer rates, which should actually be similar. The warranty period is also three years, but the MTTF of 600,000 hours is only half that of the N300.

Prices and availability

The new 18 terabyte variants of the drive series are expected to be available in the fourth quarter of 2021“, Toshiba lets know, but does not yet reveal what they will cost. The server model provides a rough guide: The Toshiba MG09 with 18 TB is currently available from 390 euros.

At just under 370 euros, the Seagate Exos X18 is a bit cheaper, while the WD Ultrastar DC HC550 with 18 TB costs almost 450 euros.

Toshiba has not yet announced a 20 TB model. Western Digital intends to implement this shortly with the flash-based OptiNAND technology. Seagate expects to ship the first 20TB HDDs to the mass market later this year.

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