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Seagate confirms 3TB drives

Seagate confirms 3TB drives

Seagate's upcoming 3TB hard drives have been confirmed, but the upgrade path from 2TB drives looks bumpy.

Storage specialist Seagate has confirmed that it has a range of 3TB hard drives planned for the near future, but warns that the upgrade path might not be as smooth as its customers could hope.

Speaking to Thinq, Seagate's Barbara Craig confirmed that the company will be "announcing a 3TB drive later this year," although a firm commitment to specs and pricing wasn't forthcoming beyond the suggestion that enterprise-grade drives could be ready by the end of the year.

More pressing, however, is the technical considerations that come with an update to such impressive capacity in a single drive: according to Craig, "nobody expected back in 1980 when they set the standard that we'd ever address over 2.1TB [in a single drive]."

This short-sightedness - excusable when you consider that the standard that Craig is talking about, Logical Block Addressing, was developed when hard drives were just about in double-digits of megabytes - has lead to the issue that Seagate - and other manufacturers - will be facing as they bring 3TB and higher capacity drives to market.

Because the current LBA standard only addresses up to 2.1TB in a single drive, 3TB drives will require Long LBA - an extension to the standard which is currently only supported in the 64-bit editions of Windows 7 and Vista. XP users are likely to be left out in the cold, with no plans to introduce Long Logical Block Addressing to the still-popular operating system.

Operating system support is only half the battle, and Craig warns that the use of 3TB is likely to require a complete overhaul of the system - a new BIOS, a new SATA or RAID controller, and potentially even an entirely new motherboard.

Thankfully, with Seagate planning its first 3TB drives to be in its enterprise range, these are problems that the corporations with big budgets can work out - before the tech drips down to the consumer level and we all get to enjoy capacious hard drives.

For the curious, a more thorough investigation of the technical roadblocks ahead for early adopters of 3TB drives is available on the second page of Thinq's article.

Are you impressed that Seagate is managing to cram 3TB into a single drive, or does the whole thing sound like a lot of hassle - and a heck of a lot of data to lose in the event of drive failure? Should large storage requirements be met with RAID and similar technologies, or is there a market for such large drives at the consumer level? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

44 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
confusis 19th May 2010, 11:55 Quote
Do want.

Shame it will be pricey, but the introduction of a higher capacity should drive lower cap's down in price. Always wondered why it took so long from 2-3TB when 500gb to 1tb was such a quick jump in time!
wuyanxu 19th May 2010, 12:01 Quote
so this is why storage has been stuck at 2TB for the last one and half year (about)
Gavster2002 19th May 2010, 12:07 Quote
Another caveat is that these drives will not work as boot drives, just as secondary drives.
BlackMage23 19th May 2010, 12:10 Quote
Well I guess you can never have enough storage.
I have to admit that every time I upgrade my hard drive I just get tempted to fill it up faster.

I have to say that when you start having all that data on one drive you should really be looking at having a raid setup for redundancy or a backup solution in place (or both), so it does start to get very expensive when you consider all those things.
Burnout21 19th May 2010, 12:21 Quote
most likely by the time the tech is sorted out the market will get slapped with 3Tb and above in a short time span after launch.
mclean007 19th May 2010, 13:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavster2002
Another caveat is that these drives will not work as boot drives, just as secondary drives.
Not wholly true. They will work as boot drives, but only if you have a GUID Partition Table, currently limited to UEFI capable motherboards, which is basically none of them AFAIK apart from those in Intel powered Macs.

Anyway, you'd be mental to use a 3TB boot drive. Do the right thing and get a SSD for OS and apps, then use the big spinning platters for mass data storage either in your machine (and don't forget to backup!) or, preferably, in a storage server with RAID or a similar redundancy technology (ZFS RAID-Z2 would be my choice).
dyzophoria 19th May 2010, 13:45 Quote
i still see some uses for XP, but honestly, if you have the resources to get that much hard drive space, you should be on Windows 7,lol
Pete J 19th May 2010, 14:17 Quote
3TB drives are good - it means that 2TB drives drop in price!

I see this as a non issue as there seems to be a shift towards using a small SSD as a boot drive - once Win 7 is installed (and I assume Linux/Unix etc.) it can handle large volumes fine.
Unicorn 19th May 2010, 14:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by confusis
Do not want.

Fixed. Dude... they're Segate drives. Ewww.
Fizzban 19th May 2010, 14:46 Quote
Impressive. But it is gonna be a bit hard explaining to some people why they can't just fling it inside their machine same as always.
l3v1ck 19th May 2010, 15:09 Quote
I'm interested in high capacities, but in external drives rather than internal ones.
In a PC I can simply add another drive if I need more space, but I don't want to have to carry several external drives with me if I need more space when I'm on the move. When are we going to see 2GB+ on external drives that can be powered by the USB cable?
Nexxo 19th May 2010, 15:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavster2002
Another caveat is that these drives will not work as boot drives, just as secondary drives.

Won't that scupper Windows 8? I'm sure it will need more than 3Tb installation space... :p
Jim 19th May 2010, 16:21 Quote
I suspect it'll be about a decade before I want to boot off a 3TB disk.

My main concern is how nicely these are going to play with WHS - gut reaction is not at all.
Veles 19th May 2010, 16:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavster2002
Another caveat is that these drives will not work as boot drives, just as secondary drives.

If you can afford a 3TB drive, you've likely got a SSD anyway for the boot drive. I always have separate system and data drives anyway, and I imagine almost everyone here does too.
thehippoz 19th May 2010, 16:36 Quote
need them even bigger.. too bad file system limit is 2tb
legoyoda 19th May 2010, 17:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehippoz
need them even bigger.. too bad file system limit is 2tb

Not actually True. All current versions of Windows support GPT partitions / disks. This means the Max Windows partition size is 256 TB but the max supported GPT size (In theory) is 18 Exabytes. Not sure if you can boot from them but you can have a bigger than 2TB partition using RAID (I've done it with 300GB SCSI Disks)
Unicorn 19th May 2010, 17:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Won't that scupper Windows 8? I'm sure it will need more than 3Tb installation space... :p

http://www.eatliver.com/img/temp/566.jpg

:p
Gavster2002 19th May 2010, 17:35 Quote
Yes agreed that you would be mental to have a 3TB boot drive, as said SSD for OS and progs with the 3TB for DATA, or even better option get a NAS enclusure and chick it in there.
CampGareth 19th May 2010, 18:34 Quote
I'm interested to know why in the name of "Mahoosive data storage" the manufacturers haven't recreated 5.25" drives, sure they'll be slower to access and will have to go in a somewhat vulnerable area of a computer case but the attraction of 14 higher density platters is surely huge! That's 7TB if we assume 500GB a platter (and the number will be far higher than that) or 9TB for 640GB platters.

The drives should be quieter or much faster than current ones to boot. Looking at some calculations on platter areas we'd have total drive capacities of closer to 14 or 20TB. Would someone mind explaining why the blazes this was deemed a bad idea?!
RichCreedy 19th May 2010, 19:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CampGareth
I'm interested to know why in the name of "Mahoosive data storage" the manufacturers haven't recreated 5.25" drives, sure they'll be slower to access and will have to go in a somewhat vulnerable area of a computer case but the attraction of 14 higher density platters is surely huge! That's 7TB if we assume 500GB a platter (and the number will be far higher than that) or 9TB for 640GB platters.

The drives should be quieter or much faster than current ones to boot. Looking at some calculations on platter areas we'd have total drive capacities of closer to 14 or 20TB. Would someone mind explaining why the blazes this was deemed a bad idea?!

small is beautiful, what we need is 100TB on 1" drives
Lemmingzappa 19th May 2010, 19:48 Quote
I wont ever be buying from Seagate again.
l3v1ck 19th May 2010, 20:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemmingzappa
I wont ever be buying from Seagate again.
Why? (genuine question, not sarcasm)
The only hard drives I've seen fail are Fujitsu ones.
Fizzban 19th May 2010, 20:18 Quote
Had a Quantum(Matrox) Fireball fail (80GB). It was old though. I'd had it 3 or 4 years and it was second hand when I bought it. I've had a laptop hardrive fail too but I can't remember what company it was. (too lazy to look)
LAGMonkey 19th May 2010, 20:37 Quote
mmmm tastey.
but definatly need the backup, preferiably RAID.
Im a bit exposed at the moment with my server. Ive got 4x 500gig drives (XFS) in RAID5 and now a single 1.5TB drive.
I was desperate and needed the space but now i have a single point of failure again.
Cost is an issue once you start going big... next upgrade for me will be EXPENCIVE as i need a new PSU, new UPS, new RAID controller, new motherboard, etc etc etc....
BLC 19th May 2010, 21:47 Quote
Frankly, we need an overhaul in some of the fundamental PC technology that's in use. I'm not talking about processor architectures or RAM, etc, but exactly things like this: LBA, BIOS, PS/2 ports, etc. Tech that was designed well over 10/20 years ago, but still plays a fundamental part in the PC architecture.
ZERO <ibis> 19th May 2010, 21:55 Quote
Hey I like my old ps/2 ports!
Star*Dagger 19th May 2010, 21:56 Quote
If you are running an almost decade old OS you deserve... nothing.
BLC 19th May 2010, 21:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZERO <ibis>
Hey I like my old ps/2 ports!

They're useless! They do nothing except take up space on the motherboard, which could easily be used for something like extra USB, FireWire, eSATA, etc...
BLC 19th May 2010, 22:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Star*Dagger
If you are running an almost decade old OS you deserve... nothing.

Businesses are probably the biggest WinXP users, rather than the home market. It gets a little more costly to replace the OS when you have to start looking at volume licensing. The company I work for has around 70,000 employees in the UK and every single computer in use (except servers and data room equipment) runs XP.

Of course, businesses aren't likely to start installing 3Tb hard drives in their user terminals! ;)
Gradius 19th May 2010, 22:01 Quote
$eagate committed a HUGE engineer design problem specially on firmware, it was a TRUE story horror:
http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1050374/seagate-barracudas-7200-11-failing

Myself got 50% of their HDDs affected by this problem.

About 3TB, 4TB is coming too, between 90~120 days from now.

Btw, 3 and 4TB is nothing, we need at least 10TB right now!

Gradius

PS: No more $eagate ever again!
Gradius 19th May 2010, 22:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLC
They're useless! They do nothing except take up space on the motherboard, which could easily be used for something like extra USB, FireWire, eSATA, etc...

Not really, if your USB ports fails to be activated from POST, you cannot even control your machine! I had a MB like that once, and couldn't get any control from it, except from PS/2 keyboard.

This is why they still sells MBs with PS/2 connector, the same is true for floppy disk drive (for recovery from a bad firmware flashing). A good solution are those MB with more than a single IC firmware (BIOS) on it, but there is no a true solution for replace PS/2 still.
[WP@]WOLVERINE 19th May 2010, 22:30 Quote
TBH a drive that doesnt work as a drive should is freakin useless no matter how big it is!
The_Beast 19th May 2010, 22:39 Quote
If you want 10TB drives you might have to go to 5.25" drives :)
erratum1 19th May 2010, 23:46 Quote
Storage is getting so massive and cheap. What the hell do you fill these things up with.......blu ray dvd rips ? Maybe amatuer photography or videography.
RichCreedy 20th May 2010, 00:03 Quote
i had to work on a dell pc that had no ps2 ports, and some numpty disabled usb in bios, had to reset bios, to get ports back
Fizzban 20th May 2010, 00:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by erratum1
Storage is getting so massive and cheap. What the hell do you fill these things up with.......blu ray dvd rips ? Maybe amatuer photography or videography.

EVERYTHING.....

I got a 1TB hard drive 2 or 3 months ago and it's 1/3 full. I'm not even trying. I am burning off less stuff however.
SteveW-87 20th May 2010, 00:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLC
Frankly, we need an overhaul in some of the fundamental PC technology that's in use. I'm not talking about processor architectures or RAM, etc, but exactly things like this: LBA, BIOS, PS/2 ports, etc. Tech that was designed well over 10/20 years ago, but still plays a fundamental part in the PC architecture.

There is nothing wrong with PS/2 ports, nothing acts as a better backup when things go wrong.

Plus, they are so much easier to use when business have systems linked up to a KVM

Things have been overhauled in the timescale you mention, ISA slots are gone, and so are AGP. hell even the north bridge has been combined into the CPU now

Computing has evolved massively!
BLC 20th May 2010, 07:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gradius
Not really, if your USB ports fails to be activated from POST, you cannot even control your machine! I had a MB like that once, and couldn't get any control from it, except from PS/2 keyboard.

This is why they still sells MBs with PS/2 connector, the same is true for floppy disk drive (for recovery from a bad firmware flashing). A good solution are those MB with more than a single IC firmware (BIOS) on it, but there is no a true solution for replace PS/2 still.

Gah, don't even get me started on floppy drives! I long for the day when that waste of space connector is removed from the motherboard! Think how many extra SATA ports could fit in that space... If you have a bad BIOS flash, the chances are that you've shafted your motherboard. Unless you have a backup like dual BIOS chips, it's likely that your board won't even post and get to the point where you can boot from any device. For any other times you could possibly need to boot from floppy disk, USB sticks are far more flexible and hold far more data. Plus they're damn cheap!

If your USB ports aren't working, then using PS/2 mice and keyboards aren't going to save you fully; that still means that there's probably something fundamentally wrong with your motherboard, and it likely needs to be replaced.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveW-87
Things have been overhauled in the timescale you mention, ISA slots are gone, and so are AGP. hell even the north bridge has been combined into the CPU now

Computing has evolved massively!

Yes technology has evolved massively - I never disputed that. Hell, I remember having a whole 2mb of RAM in my Atari STe and thinking I was the bee's knees. However some parts/standards we are using are still decades old - floppy drives being a prime example. LBA, as pointed out in the article, is another great example: it was a standard developed when people could not even conceive that we would have such vast storage capacity in home computers. Why do we still hang on to this stuff when there are better alternatives? Why are we still using BIOS when one of it's primary roles was long ago taken away from it? (Specifically, controlling I/O devices - hence "Basic Input/Output System". The only time it controls I/O devices now is when bootstrapping). Why aren't we using better tech like EFI?
Pricester 20th May 2010, 09:34 Quote
As I recall, the first hard disks that were over 100MB required a similar level of "special" support in the BIOS, and were all supplied with floppy disks with the drivers that let DOS and Windows access them as if they were normal disks...

That was at least 10 years ago though - and I can't really remember the details, since by the time I got my hands on one, my PC already had support, so there was nothing to do (except read the instructions and worry slightly in case it didn't work!)

The problem is of course that 10 years ago, only the real techies would consider upgrading their PC themselves, and so anyone looking at doing that would understand the problem - whereas now, anyone with a Facebook account seems to think they can just upgrade as and when they like...
ModMonkey 20th May 2010, 09:47 Quote
Wouldn't touch seagate again, but hope my Drobo FS will accept a Samsung\WD version of these drives.
Unknownsock 20th May 2010, 10:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemmingzappa
I wont ever be buying from Seagate again.

Never heard of segate drives :o
Bayaz 20th May 2010, 11:49 Quote
Why not just buy 2 * 2GB drives instead. Probably work out cheaper and less troublesome until hardware/software catches up
NeoThermic 20th May 2010, 11:56 Quote
Not sure I agree with this post. 48-bit LBA, part of the ATA-6 spec released in 2002 gives support for 128 PiB worth of disk addressing. Quite why you'd need a BIOS, SATA, RAID or mobo is beyond me. Craig, Gareth, can you enlighten us as to why 48-bit LBA isn't enough for 3TB drives?
Anfield 20th May 2010, 22:34 Quote
So according to the Thinq article linked you would require a mainboard with UEFI instead of Bios... problem is that the only manufacturer to offer it at some point in consumer mainboards (msi) seems to have abandoned it already again with not a single s1366 / s1566 / am3 board having it according to their own website.
http://www.msi.com/html/popup/MB/uefi/applied_model.html

And server mainboards are even worse than consumer products if it comes to being hooked on ancient connectors and standards...
So that supposed UEFI requirement better be wrong.
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