Toshiba, you can't have 14TB served on a platter. It'll take eight, at least

Big T lags in capacity stakes but could catch up soon

Analysis Toshiba lags behind WDC and Seagate in high-capacity 3.5-inch drives, having just reached 10TB. The other two are waving from 12TB and WDC has recently hit 14TB. How can Tosh catch up?

Toshiba has achieved 1TB/platter areal density with its MQ04 2.5-inch disk drive. That would imply 10TB+ 3.5-inch disk drives.

Unlike Seagate and WDC, Toshiba does not manufacture its own platters, buying them in from Showa-Denko instead. That company has recently revealed one detail of its 3.5-inch disk platter roadmap – a 1.5 to 1.8TB platter.


Showa-Denko platter/capacity table showing 1.5-1.8TB platter due in 2018

Toshiba's 10TB MG06 disk has seven platters and, effectively, a 1.43TB/platter areal density, which places it in the 1.3-1.5TB/platter area on the Showa-Denko table.

Assume a 1.8TB platter and a seven-platter drive would provide 12.6TB of capacity. That makes us fairly confident that Toshiba will introduce a 12TB air-filled disk drive next year.

We can go further. Toshiba has helium-filled disk drive technology on the way. That means it can introduce an extra platter into its 3.5-inch casing, meaning a 14.4TB capacity using Showa-Denko's components.

That would be without using WDC's host-managed SMR tech.

Unless WDC and Seagate get their in-house platter manufacturing to the same areal density level as Showa-Denko then Toshiba, a distant number three in 3.5-inch disk drive sales, could leapfrog them both in the capacity stakes – a quite unexpected possibility. ®

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