Western Digital has begun sending out its first 20 TB and 18 TB hard drives to enterprise OEMs and other customers for sampling.

The Ultrastar DC HC650 SMR and Ultrastar DC HC550 CMR HDDs represent the industry’s first-ever implementation of “energy-assisted” magnetic recording technology (EAMR) on a nine-disk platform.

Western Digital’s press release doesn’t elaborate on the benefits of EAMR, but it’s believed to be a subset of microwave-assisted magnetic recording (MAMR) technology.

Volume shipments are expected to begin in the first half of 2020.

“Western Digital’s new 20TB and 18TB HDDs should make a compelling case for customers to transition to higher capacity points as they seek greater storage and energy efficiencies in the near-term while building more cost-effective and scalable infrastructures for the future.”

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