When all costs are factored in, Seagate expects the cost of HAMR drives to work out about the same as today's HDDs, Re said. They won't significantly increase power consumption either, because the added heating mechanism only consumes tens of milliwatts of additional power, Re said.
The Ceatec demonstration of HAMR won't be the first, even from Seagate, which claims no other vendor has shown the technology in a hard drive. But Ceatec may be the biggest stage yet for HAMR.
Seagate partly wants to reassure anyone worried about the technology, which has had a long development cycle, Rydning said.
"They're trying to ward off the skeptics," he said. "The technology is very, very difficult, and there has been a lot of skepticism if it will ever make it into commercial products." The consensus in the HDD industry seems to be that HAMR won't ship before 2017, he said.
Among the challenges in developing HAMR have been attaching and aligning a semiconductor diode laser to an HDD write head and implementing near-field optics to deliver the heat, Seagate's Re said. Near-field optics isn't new, but HDDs would be the largest volume implementation yet of the technology, he said. TDK made some components for the Seagate-developed recording head that will be used in the demonstration, he said.