Mechanical hard drives are disappearing from the market in favor of SSDs. Not only for performance, but also for dimensions, resistance and versatility that they offer. Well, a company has announced a new type of disc for hard drives based on new materials that allows 1TB for just $5.
Currently optical discs seem to be relegated to very specific uses. Platforms like Steam for games or Netflix for streaming movies and series have meant that optical drives have passed away. Laptops are also doing away with reading units, to reduce dimensions and increase power.
Hard drives based on optical technology
According to the company Folio Photonics, they have developed a new type of optical storage drive. This type of solution is intended to make the hard drives have larger capacities and are much cheaper. To develop this type of unit they have used new materials and innovative manufacturing techniques.
They would have managed to make a 1TB drive of capacity at a cost of only 5 dollars, which could be as low as $1 per 1TB drive. Currently, HDD hard drives cost approximately $25 for 1TB.
These new discs have a system of dynamic read and write capabilities in multiple layers. Such a system is not new, but to date it would not have been profitable to use them at a business level. For this Folio would have developed a new polymer extrusion system, as well as new construction processes of film-based discs, custom optical pickup units, a new, easily scalable polymer co-extrusion process, and something they’ve dubbed “next-generation materials.”
From the company they indicate that they have gone from the three optical layers per face of the current discs, to the 16 layers on each side. Folio, in addition, has said that the number of layers can be increased.
The company also highlights that its solution is much more energy efficient than conventional HDDs. The use of these new units will reduce the carbon footprint within the storage industry. Folito also highlights that its hard drives are more resistant to electromagnetic pulses.
Will we see this solution in the market?
According to Folio, this new type of hard drives should reach the market in 2024. The first drives would contain a total of 10 drives with a capacity of 1TB per drive. At the effective level, we will have a 10 TB HDD that would have an approximate price of 50 dollars. For that price, currently, we would have a 2TB hard drive.
This Folio technology could lead to revolutionize the HDD market, spawning a new competitor. WD and Seagate are currently working towards 30TB and expect to hit 100TB by 2030, so Folio’s entry would be a huge blow. Toshiba, on the other hand, is working on pushing the limits of storage and performance with HAMR, plus microwave support and iNAND memories.
The arrival of these new hard drives, if they are real, could be a further blow to conventional HDDs. Currently, the HDD market is more than dead due to SSDs. What we don’t know is whether these new optical hard drives could compete with SSDs in performance.