SMR will be replacing the currently used PMR (Perpendicular Magnetic Recording) technology as it’s nearing its development cycle and has reached full potential. Seagate is also planning to launch HAMR (Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording) technology based drives sometime next year.
The SMR upgrade will allow increased storage capacity of up to 25 percent, thanks to its denser recording technology. In 2014 Seagate is expected to ship HAMR drives, which use a different recording media, offering about 60 percent higher areal density, compared to the actual PMR technology.
Considering an example of a 4TB PMR drive, the improvement by the end of the year will be a 4-platter SMR drive at 4.8TB - 5TB capacity while next year it will be 4-platter HAMR drive at up to 6.4TB capacity.
Western Digital has a different approach to the same problem; they are filling the hard drive with helium gas, thus reducing friction and adding more platters, let’s say a 6 platter disk drive instead of the current 4 TB-4 platter drive, in the same enclosure.