back to article Call the doctor! WDC's new 14TB spinner has shingled write scheme

WDC has released an Ultrastar 14TB disk drive with host application software managing its shingled writing scheme. It is the world's first 14TB disk drive, and is helium-filled, as usual at these greater-than-10TB capacities. The disk uses shingled media recording (SMR) with partially overlapping write tracks to increase the …

  1. DagD

    I bet these things are just "Flying off the shelves".

    1. Chemical Bob

      Nope, just floating above them.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ... anyone got any info about what this actually means? Does it only work if you have (say) Windows drivers installed? What does this mean at the SATA layer - for example can you only write whole tracks at a time?

    1. andrew-in-ca

      Re: Host-managed...


  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How may $$ in development

    For 16% capacity increase?

  4. The Dogs Meevonks

    Great another drive that's going to cost extreme amounts of money whilst the smaller capacities remain at the same high prices the cartel has been fixing them at for the last 6yrs.

    Meanwhile those of us who would welcome a drop in prices like they used to for the previous 15yrs as larger capacities were introduced are stubbornly refusing to purchase any more drives until prices fall to sensible levels once more.

    A 4TB drive has hovered around the £115 mark for the last 5yrs whilst larger capacities have been brought in at an average of £35 per TB increase... and those prices have remained there ever since. with barely more than a couple of % change.

    If they want sales to pick up... try selling them at reasonable prices... You'd get a few sales from me in the 6TB range... or if the price was right 5x5TB

    1. TReko

      Duopoly power

      Two main manufacturers running a duopoly means no price drops until flash catches up.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What I'm stuck on is how data can overlap! Crazytown!!

    1. Chemical Bob

      It's sort of like shingles...

    2. James Ashton

      Re: What I'm stuck on is how data can overlap! Crazytown!!

      The heads can read a narrow track but only write a broad track. So the writing partly overlaps within a "zone". Reading is as before but, if you want to write a track, you have to write all the overlapping tracks.

      Obviously, don't use these in a write-intensive and/or random-IO environment. They're ideal for things like steaming video where it's almost all read-only, and the writes are huge files, i.e., mostly sequential.

    3. Natalie Gritpants

      It operates just like VHS or DAT tape with guard bands between the overlapping tracks so you don't have to write the whole of the rest of the disk when you change a block. You do have to rewrite the rest of the disk up to the next guard band though so that's why it's no good for random writes. I guess the host managed part is to manage the bands of overlapping tracks in a virtual way so as to not limit it to behaving exactly as a tape.

      Be interesting to know if they fake read-after-write checking. Difficult to read just behind the write head without picking up the field from the write head and fooling yourself into thinking the media is written correctly. Any further behind (like a second head on another arm) and you have to manage the rewrites that occur. Bit like turning around a ship.


    Nyuk Nyuk

    Singles huh? They make a pill for that now. It's a big blue monster of a pill.

  7. cmaurand

    Pretty crappy performance numbers. Then again it's a spinning drive. The days of the spinning drive are numbered and the flash manufacturers are gouging the market. It cost's about $10.00 in parts and labor to put an SSD together (and that's being generous). I'm assuming the flash costs dollars and not pennies. No moving parts. It's just a matter of time before the spinning drive goes the way of the dinosaur.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Deflation eventually?

    Helium is less dense than atmospheric air, even a small leak will render this useless over time, maybe obsolescence is the point.

    1. Solviva

      Re: Deflation eventually?

      You don't need to seal the drive to stop helium escaping, simply to stop anything bigger getting in... If the helium escapes, then you get a partial vacuum created inside the drive unless something comes in to replace it.

      Once the pressure inside is less than outside, and you've stopped everything other than helium commuting to the inside and out, then there's no desire for the helium to escape further since the pressure outside is higher.

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