New “Shingled” Hard Drives Hold Terabytes For Pennies A Gig

While the last time most of us thought of shingles was when we were itchy in eighth grade, Seagate has been thinking of them as a way to store data. Called Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) Drives, Seagate’s new drives can store 8 terabytes of data for about 3 cents a gigabyte.

The catch? These are great back-up drives but they’re not very fast. At 5,900 RPM and an average read/write speed of 150MB/sec, you’re looking at something that’s far slower than an average SSD drive (1,800MB/sec) and even the average 7,200 RPM hard drive.

Shingled drives cram more tracks onto a single platter and reduce the minuscule space between tracks. This means you can fit over a terabyte on one spinning HDD platter.

Therefore these drives work best with a faster SSD drive on the front end and then these slower drives for less important storage. For example, you could stack a few for some serious fleet backup power or you could place seldom-used data files on the drive and work with fast-moving files on an SSD.

Seagate will ship the drives in January for $260 for an 8 terabyte version. Considering the first 1TB drives cost $375 in 2007, that’s an impressive jump. I intend to fill my 8TB drive with photographs of food and home video of my navel. You?