The idea of a 300TB Seagate hard hard drive in 2010 is pure drivel.

As noted in my blog there has been much media publicity about a coming 300 terabyte hard drive from Seagate. It has been based on a report by a French gaming web site known as Joystiq. From there it spread and spread.

The 300TB drive capacity was actually based on an estimated capacity likelihood of 300 terabits! There was a simple transition error from terabits to terabytes and, before you could say voila the French site was reporting a 300TB drive instead of a 37TB (300Tb/8 and a bit) drive.

This was ascribed to the wonders of HAMR (heat-assisted magnetic recording). Still, 300 terabytes! Alarm bells should have been ringing. It is a monstrously unlikely amount of storage, fully sixty times more than a Fujitsu estimate of a 5TB hard drive by 2010 using HAMR.

We know Seagate has a lot of technical prowess but no way is it sixty times greater than Fujitsu's. And, to emphasise the point again, no way would Seagate put its best marketing foot forward and claim a sixty-fold lead over competitors in areal density capabilities.

When queried with Seagate the response was clearcut. It was from David Szabados, a Seagate marketing contact, who gave the official Seagate line:

"By 2010, perpendicular recording will remain as the technology used and 3.5-inch drives will range from 1200 to 3000 GB capacities depending on the applications (desktop class drives that don't require the same performance densities as enterprise drives are expected to have the higher capacities). Seagate research's estimates are that 50 terabit-per-square-inch density may be achievable using HAMR with perhaps a combination of Bit Patterned Media but that's moving well past the 2010 timeframe."

So we may expect 3TB hard drives from Seagate in 2010.

Szabados added: "Perpendicular would still be the "mainstream" or "primary" technology used at that 2010 timeframe but we do expect that HAMR will begin to emerge in products around that same time as well and begin the transition. The talk of 50 Tb per square inch is obviously at the bleeding edge limits that we're looking at now (2019+). For perpendicular/HAMR, it would also be accurate to say that current perpendicular technology is extensible to somewhere between 0.5 and 1 Tb per square inch before another technology like HAMR isrequired."

HAMR will not appear in general HDD products by 2010 and 50Tb per sq in areal densities may be possible in the 2020 or later area. The transition from perpendicular recording to HAMR may well have begun in 2010.