Hard drives might be on the way out, but Seagate is still betting on them


PC hard drives have been around for a very long time indeed, and are still the choice for many gamers.

This is because while SSDs have fallen in price dramatically in recent times, good old magnetic hard drives still have the edge when it comes to cost. So, while a 4 TB SSD would be prohibitively expensive for most people, an HDD of the same size is a more affordable option for those with large video game or multimedia collections.

And now it seems technology company Seagate is ready to double down on HDDs, and still thinks spinning hard drives have a future.

Actually, CEO Dave Mosley said higher capacity drives are on the horizon. “We are preparing to ship 18-terabyte drives in the first half of calendar year 2020 to maintain our industry capacity leadership”, said Mosley in an earnings call, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript (via PC Gamer).

Seagate has more massive drives planned for the future, and will put out a 20 TB model by 2020, and is even planning a 50 TB monster for 2026. The latter will use a new technology known as heat assisted magnetic recording (HAMR), instead of the traditional conventional magnetic recording (if you care about the mumbo jumbo you can read about the details of each here and here).

Of course, taking into account that Seagate is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of HDDs, it makes sense that the US company wants to keep investing in the technology, especially when millions of magnetic hard drives are still flying of the shelves each year.

The number of HDDs sold has been going down for years now, though, and the truth is that SSDs are a better proposition overall: they’re noiseless, consume less energy and are exponentially faster, especially the new models which use the PCI Express interface.

SSDs are definitely better for gaming than good, old hard drives, even though the latter still offer way more storage space for your money. But with the price of SSDs steadily falling, there will surely come a time when the cost per gigabyte of flash drives equals that of HDDs, making the latter obsolete, so it seems that Seagate is a bit optimistic if it expects HDDs to still be going strong in 2026.

Very high capacity hard drives such as Seagate’s planned 50 TB model might still be in demand in some niches, particularly in the server market, although SSD capacities have also been creeping up: Samsung unveiled a 30 TB SSD last year, and Seagate themselves even built a 60 TB  flash drive, even though this was just demonstration technology so it’s not hitting the market any time soon.

It’s clear, nonetheless, that SSDs are the future of gaming: Sony’s and Microsoft’s next-gen consoles will be fitted with flash drives instead of HDDs, and PC games will surely want to have at least a small SSD in their system for the operating system and a game or two, keeping the rest on a large HDD.

That is, until bigger SSDs become affordable enough and that HDD ends up as a doorstop…

Read more: Should you get an SSD for gaming now?

Firecuda hard drive (Seagate)