Computer

A twist on the capacity of hard drives, this is FC-MAMR

It is possible, perhaps more than possible, likely, that this technology will not end up reaching the user’s hard drives, the common market, but it should not be ignored for that, on the contrary, it is the step prior to the fact of being implemented at low level and low cost. Toshiba has designed a new line and series of hard drives called MG09, which is the first to integrate the so-called FC-MAMR technology, a twist on what is already known and in itself novel, how have they done it and in what consists?

The concept of MAMR as a fundamental basis to achieve a step forward

Taking the ‘old’ (note the irony) and improving it, that’s exactly what Toshiba has done by choosing MAMR technology (Microwave-assisted Magnetic Recording) as base. To understand how little we know about FC-MAMR, let’s first know where it starts from, since without this fresh information we may not understand where the improvements are on the part of the Japanese.

MAMR is a complicated technology, since it uses resonances and frequencies through an STO in ranges of 20 GHz to 40 GHz while the HDD head is recording on the platter. That is, and to simplify the concept:

Apply a magnetic field (not electromagnetic, eye) to weaken the recording area and its strength to change. With these high frequencies through the STO it is possible to spend less energy and record more precisely, which directly implies more data in the same useful area, thereby improving the capacity of the HDD.

MAMR

Logically, this implies a series of new materials, new mechanical parts, torques and heads of course. What is achieved with all this is that the polarized electrons change and “rotate” their state through the oscillator, requiring less energy than a normal head, improving the density per square centimeter and not causing changes in temperature beyond that which is currently get on a HDD.

Can you improve something that already looks like the future?

Well yes, with technology that is already present and is on the market. The FC-MAMR concept has been seen as very promising for extending the recording density of hard drives. Obviously this refers to the future, because as we have said, the HDDs of the Japanese are a reality for any company that can afford them.

FC-MAMR comes from Flux-Control Microwave-Assisted Magnetic Recording, where logically everything revolves around the concept of Flux-Control. There is really very little information about it, so when Toshiba explains everything in more detail we will expand this article with all the details, but in the meantime we will explain how it works.

What is FC-MAMR and how does it upgrade to an HDD?

Toshiba-FC-MAMR-head-diagram

Sure we know how the head of a hard disk works, but let’s review briefly because the figures deserve it: we have one or more read and write heads that are divided into two parts or poles where a magnetic field constantly crosses them to be able to read or writing on the plate.

Well, that distance with MAMR technology is only 20 nm, which implies a degree of precision of the same never seen until now, since we are talking about a mechanical part that moves without stopping and that also needs a nanosecond to record or read the magnetic field and its bits. With this in mind comes FC-MAMR, where Toshiba what he achieved was to apply a current to polarize the STO by means of a direct current.

What did they achieve? Induce the oscillation and thereby change the magnetization of the STO to produce a more accurate microwave magnetic field. In other words, by magnetizing the direction that the STO produces, they modified the field of the plate. Well, this STO and magnetization control was called Flux-Control.

FC-MAMR-head

What is achieved with all this is to strengthen the recording magnetic field thereby generating less microwaves, which leads to an improved magnetic field intensity. Basically it is possible to record data on the platter with better intensity and spending less energy, being more precise and with this it is possible to increase the writing performance of the head and the capacity of the disk.

Toshiba assured that in their simulations they show the effectiveness of increasing the bias current, where they managed to reach writing speeds of 3 Gbit / s without compromising the security of the data or the HDD itself. These tests ensure that the performance of the Flux-Control is completed in just 0.5 nanoseconds, without energy losses and with total precision, where it manages to weaken the selected area and strengthen the neighboring ones, facilitating the rotation and change of state of the plate and the data.

Low consumption at idle and very competitive in maximum RPM range

The first data shown within the MG09 range of Toshiba business HDDs show very surprising data of this FC-MAMR technology, and that is that the disks only consume 0.23 watts as a maximum figure while they are inactive (MG09 of 18 TB), where the average of them is 8.74 watts.

As if that were not enough, this FC-MAMR technology is also compatible with PWC as persistent write cache and PLP to prevent and protect from energy losses to each model, something very important in servers, where no bit can be lost or misspelled.

Regarding the consumer sector, we may not see this type of HDD, mainly because Toshiba is going to give the green light to its second generation MAMR technology and with this, in theory, it will match FC-MAMR to launch hard drives for the consumer with more capacity and at a competitive price. The biggest problem is that at the rate that everything is developing right now this means quietly 5 years if everything goes well, because at the moment this type of technology has not been ahead of the dates, but on the contrary.

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