Energy-assisted magnetic recording (EAMR) uses a laser-optical system integrated into the magnetic head to heat locally a fine-grained material of high magnetic anisotropy energy density above its Curie temperature, and store single bits in very small areas without being limited by the superparamagnetic effect. However, localized laser heating may affect the thermal stability of the carbon overcoat of the hard disk. To examine the effect of laser heating on the overcoat thermal stability, ultrathin amorphous carbon (a-C) films of similar thickness (~ 3.6 nm) synthesized by filtered cathodic vacuum arc (FCVA) and chemical vapor deposition (CVD) were subjected to repetitive heating under different laser powers. Carbon hybridization and surface roughness of the a-C films were examined by Raman spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy, respectively. For the laser power range studied (150-300 mW), a-C films produced by the FCVA technique demonstrated superior thermal stability than CVD films of similar thickness. To investigate the possibility of further reducing the magnetic spacing, thinner (~ 0.9 nm) a-C films deposited by the FCVA method were subjected to the same laser heating conditions. Although the thermal stability of the FCVA-synthesized a-C films exhibited thickness dependence, even the thinner (~ 0.9 nm) FCVA film demonstrated higher thermal stability than the much thicker (~ 3.6 nm) CVD film. The results of this study illustrate the high potential of FCVA as a coating method for EAMR.