Toshiba 18TB MG09 9-disk Helium FC-MAMR Hard Drives Launched

Toshiba has a new hard drive model continuing on the path of storing more in the 3.5″ form factor. The new Toshiba MG09 can reach capacities of up to 18TB using a 9-disk platform. What is more, these are Toshiba’s first drives with FC-MAMR technology to help increase density.

Toshiba 18TB MG09 9-disk Helium FC-MAMR Hard Drives
The new Toshiba MG09 will hit capacities of up to 18TB. Before we get too far, these drives are conventional magnetic recording, or CMR drives not SMR drives. You may have seen STH’s coverage where Will tested Western Digital Red SMR versus CMR drives with ZFS and the message was clear for ZFS: Avoid WD Red SMR. While WD surreptitiously swapped SMR into hard drive lines, Toshiba is clearly stating these new drives are CMR.
The drives themselves are helium-filled. This is not something that is necessarily new at this point. This is Toshiba’s 3rd generation of 9-disk helium drives. What is new is the recording technology. Flux Control – Microwave-Assisted Magnetic Recording (FC-MAMR) helps record data in smaller tracks which in turn drives higher disk density. Getting to new and more exotic recording technologies is a key reason that hard drive capacity growth has stalled. Whereas a decade ago we would often see 25-33% jumps in generational capacity, we are now under 13% with longer cycles between capacity points.

Other notable features are that the MG09 is a 7,200rpm drive with a 550TB per year workload rating. The drives feature either SAS3 or SATA interfaces. Although we are focused on the new 18TB model, there is a slightly smaller 16TB model as well.

This is such a big announcement that Marvell reached out to STH to let us know that Toshiba is using the Marvell controller and preamplifier technology in the MG09 series.

Final Words
The hard drive industry has three major players at this point, so it is important that we see Toshiba continue to develop new technologies and drive capacity points up. Without this, Western Digital and Seagate would have less competition in the market.

Sample shipments of 18TB MG09 Series HDD to customers are expected to start sequentially at the end of March 2021. Since Toshiba is only sampling at the end of Q1 2021, we expect full availability will be some time later. We do not have pricing on the new drives.

See the key specs for the drive below.

Toshiba MG09 Key Specs
Key specs for the Toshiba MG09 are in this table:
As one can see, we have both SAS3 and SATA III drives available and around a 268MB/s maximum sustained transfer speed.

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