These new WD 20TB hard drives can hold your entire Steam collection

The humble mechanical hard drives may not be as popular as good NVMe SSDs, but they have not been thrown into the trash. As the demand for data storage continues to increase, larger drives are needed to store all the data.Later this month, Western Digital will begin shipping 20TB hard drives OptiNAND technology. Hoarders pay attention.

Hybrid hard drives with onboard flash memory are nothing new. Seagate has been manufacturing them for years, but Western Digital has a different approach. WD’s OptiNAND does not cache actual data, but stores metadata, or essentially data about hard drive data.

One might think that DRAM is a better choice, but WD’s use of flash memory offers several advantages. Flash memory is cheaper than DRAM. It is non-volatile. Storing metadata in the cache can improve overall performance because it is better at handling latency-sensitive operations that hard drives are not so good at. Keeping metadata in its own cache should also make it easier for WD to create larger drives.

(Image source: Western Digital)

Typically, new storage technologies are designed for enterprise applications, and this is the case here. But it is no exaggeration to say that NAS and desktop versions will appear sooner or later.