Seagate to announce 3TB drive later this year

Thinq has confirmed after speaking to Seagate's senior product manager Barbara Craig a 3TB hard drive will be announced later in the year. There are however a number of major issues beyond raising the areal density to allow users to get a 3TB drive running with full functionality. 

One issue is many modern PCs are unable to run hard drives of this size because the original logical block addressing standard (LBA) cannot assign addresses to capacities larger than 2.1TB. The LBA standard was defined by Microsoft and IBM as part of the original DOS standard and it assigns an address to each 512-byte sector, the smallest physical block of data on a hard drive. 

Seagate says Long LBA, which increases the number of bytes used to define an LBA address in the command descriptor block is the solution to getting around this problem. Craig believes the LBA issue was never seen as a problem until recent years. "Nobody expected back in 1980 when they set the standard that we'd ever address over 2.1TB."

The Long LBA standard however also requires supporting operating systems which include 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and Vista along with modified versions of Linux. Windows XP is not supported and Seagate warns users may not even be able to see 2.1TB of a 3TB drive. The company's tests have revealed in at least one case only 990MB of a 3TB drive was available to users running Windows XP. 

"There's also a GUID partition table (GPT) that needs to be implemented for the master boot record." Craig explains this is necessary because master boot record partitions are currently restricted to 2.1TB as well and a new GPT partition table would be necessary to extend past this. 

Users hoping to have the 3TB as a secondary disk will not find this to be a problem however further issues remain for those who want to boot their OS off a drive of this size. 

The master boot record is also a significant part of the standard BIOS setup found in motherboards for several decades now. GPT is a part of the Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) intended to replace the ASCII-based BIOS. It is managed by the United EFI Forum (UEFI) and it features a larger LBA scheme which allows for enough addresses to be provided for drives over 2.1TB. UEFI however is not the de facto standard for motherboards and only a select number of boards actually feature the UEFI system. Another problem for those who wish to use the 3TB drives in a RAID array will also have to have RAID drivers that support Long LBA. 

Seagate will not be able to solve all of these problems themselves and will have to work with other players in the industry to make drives over 2.1TB a practical option for the average user. Craig says the move towards 3TB drives has sparked cooperation with other hard drive manufacturers.

The 3TB enterprise-level drives should be launched towards the end of this year if Seagate's problems get resolved. 

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SSD's are NOT intended for data storage. I have installed SSD's and they are blazing fast but still the GB / $$ ratio is way too high to allocate such a device to storage duty..I have always used SSD's for the operating system and installed apps only. They are a great bang for the buck when used that way. OCZ has supposedly already released a 1TB SSD in 2.5" form factor - price quoted in this article is $2,200 USD.
http://www.computerworld.com/s...SD_this_month?taxonomyId=19

Yes, we need more TB these days with the advent of HD video.

Let's face it, the future of the DVD and even Blu-Ray is constantly over-shaddowed by the arrival of downloadable content stored on HDDs and with TV's having decoders and USB ports, there will be no need to physically put a disc in a drive anymore, you will simply select the movie you want to watch and BOOM, you're away.

So a blu-ray movie is 50GB big, that isn't very many to fill a 1TB drive when DVD quality is only 4GB - I leave you to do the math

In fact, I was thinking of buying a 2/2.5TB drive (WD My Book) to help me with my archiving recently as I don't want 3 or 4 1TB drives hanging around the house. A data centre is what I need but at over £1000 for a 4TB one (I don't see the point in getting a smalller one), then it is far too expensive at the moment (for what they actually are! (a HDD storage device, almost like a server!) (from what I understand)).

SSD's I have no knoelwdge about and only just know what it stands for

Those saying that you don't need anything bigger need to get their heads out of their a$$! It's not because YOU don't need it that nobody will! And no.. it's not a "waste" as it doesn't cost a company more for building 2tb HDDs than a 20mb years ago!

That being said, I have my whole HD movie collection copied on a raid config. the less HDDs are in the tower, the cooler (temperature) it is and less power consumption. More space = more movies / less compression.

I'm ok if you don't need that much... but don't hold everybody else back. I have no intention of using the guest room to fill it with 20mb HDDs!

TrOjAn. said,
What..? ONLY 3TB
I really need much more! Western Digital has HDD's of 4TB! (My Book II Studio 4TB)..

You do realize those external "drives" are only enclosures with 2TB drives in a RAID0...right?

Xenosion said,

You do realize those external "drives" are only enclosures with 2TB drives in a RAID0...right?

Yes but they can 'bundle' it.. ;-)

Music, home videos, legitimate movies and hi-res images can take up plenty. One of my 2 external 1TB drives is full (<20G free) with just such data. I have my share of porn too..gay porn. Fortunately it takes up no more space than straight porn does! I agree with another poster that 1TB drives are the bang for the buck right now with internals around $70 and external USB 1TB drives at $99...I still recall my Amiga 2000 and my 2 Syquest 'removable media" hard drives. Each cartridge was a whopping 88 MB.

Interesting to see that consumer hard drives are already at 3TB. Although I dont know anyone that would download that much pr0n; I think buying 1TB hard drives right now are pretty much the best bang for your buck.

-DanNY- said,
Interesting to see that consumer hard drives are already at 3TB. Although I dont know anyone that would download that much pr0n; I think buying 1TB hard drives right now are pretty much the best bang for your buck.

What I wish is that they wouldn't force these excessive sizes on consumers that don't necessarily require 500GB+ capacity. I wanted a 250GB WD Green Edition for my HTPC as it is only for an OS. I had to really search for one. It just seems a waste to have 900GB wasting away for nothing.

SSD's are up to 1000 times faster than a HDD. Very few people need 3 terabytes. Most people would be happy with a 1 TB SSD that is 1000 times faster than traditional hard drives

gosh said,
SSD's are up to 1000 times faster than a HDD. Very few people need 3 terabytes. Most people would be happy with a 1 TB SSD that is 1000 times faster than traditional hard drives

1000x faster? No...Given the average throughput of a decent quality SSD is about 250MBps, 1000x less than that would be .25MBps...HDD are not that slow. Try 5x faster as an HDD on an extremely bad day will have 50MBps.

Cost is an issue here. Are you suggesting "most people" as you put it would be okay spending $3,000 on a 1TB SSD when they can get a 1TB HDD for 43x less at $69?

Edited by Bryan R., May 18 2010, 12:41pm :

Xenosion said,

1000x faster? No...Given the average throughput of a decent quality SSD is about 250MBps, 1000x less than that would be .25MBps...HDD are not that slow. Try 5x faster as an HDD on an extremely bad day will have 50MBps.

Cost is an issue here. Are you suggesting "most people" as you put it would be okay spending $3,000 on a 1TB SSD when they can get a 1TB HDD for 43x less at $69?

Well, you're not taking seek time into account, they're extremely superior in that aspect.
But hey, I agree, mechanical drives are more than good for the average user. And cost with SSDs is still crazy high. I don't want just the OS to load fast.. I want my apps and games aswell!

epk said,

Well, you're not taking seek time into account, they're extremely superior in that aspect.
But hey, I agree, mechanical drives are more than good for the average user. And cost with SSDs is still crazy high. I don't want just the OS to load fast.. I want my apps and games aswell!


Correct, I did not take into account access time purposefully. SSDs access times are around 2ms compared to your average HDD access times of maybe 10ms. Measuring "fast" is easier to look at with tangible numbers such as throughput.

So all manufacturers should just stop making HDDs because something newer is out? To say SSDs are "better" is not correct as "better" is something for a builder to determine. What of cost? What of capacity? SSDs are not better in these regards. HDDs are still important and SSDs still need some maturing on the RAID and longevity fronts.

Hard drives aren't disappearing anytime soon, though with the advent of SSDs we'll see them moving more and more to a "storage-only" role.

I'm suspecting for the next several years the hot setup will be a decent SSD that's roomy enough for the OS & apps, with a drive like this to store media files...

Seagate: Drop the mechanical HDD as SSD's are the way to go and a fix for a 3TB drive is to move to a 4KB address space from 512bytes as new drives will start doing it that way starting next year. this is another reason to drop XP if you want that size of HDD as Vista/7 will work with it.

soldier1st said,
Seagate: Drop the mechanical HDD as SSD's are the way to go and a fix for a 3TB drive is to move to a 4KB address space from 512bytes as new drives will start doing it that way starting next year. this is another reason to drop XP if you want that size of HDD as Vista/7 will work with it.

SSDs are still very expensive, using SSDs is a waste if all you want to do is archive vast amounts of data.

djpailo said,
No. I'll buy 1TB drives which will be cheaper and get the equivalent of 3 if necessary.

you buy today, but tomorrow?

djpailo said,
No. I'll buy 1TB drives which will be cheaper and get the equivalent of 3 if necessary.

I'd buy 2TB drives which solve both problems

Pam14160 said,
Question: Can you divide the drive into separate drives to enable the full use?

I'd say no, the drive is refereed to at a system level as hdd/0 or hdd/1 etc, LBA splits this up into sectors which the OS (windows) can then partition into separate drives.

The issues above still apply, partitioning into smaller 'drives' wont effect the issues.