The Advanced Storage Technology Consortium has released its latest report which predicts mechanical disk drives will skyrocket to 100TB by 2025. Data use has risen exponentially over the last few years due to 4k video and megatextures in newer game engines. Back in September, HGST unveiled a 10TB 3.5” hard drive which implements shingled magnetic recording technology to increase the capacity without adding to the number of total platters.

Even though capacities have expanded to 10TB using this process, it seems like the limits of storage expansion are already being reached.

Currently, mechanical drives utilize perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) techniques which operate at a maximum areal density of 0.86Tbpsi. Future storage devices are destined to use heat assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) which should, according to Forbes, increase the annual areal density growth rate from 15% to 30%.

A longer term plan, involves the heated-dot magnetic recording (HDMR) system which combines bit patterned magnetic recording and HAMR to dramatically improve the areal density to 10. As a result, it is realistic to theorize that we should have 100TB drives on the market by year 2025.

This report may signify that standard disk drive storage won’t be entirely replaced by solid state drives for a long time because the demand for data is so high. Another factor to take into consideration is the way we are using data with a greater reliance on cloud storage. By 2025, it’s not too far-fetched to suggest that the entertainment industry might replace digital downloads with on-demand streams. Nevertheless, the future is uncertain and consumers are undoubtedly using vast sums of data that need to be stored in potentially more than one place.