Earlier this week, Hitachi GST (soon to be part of Western Digital) announced they would soon ship a 1 TB single-platter hard disk drive. But archrival Seagate rained on their parade financing immediate shipment of their own 4 TB unit. With the industry consolidating rapidly, it’s good to see healthy competition among the two remaining hard disk drive giants.
Seagate’s 4 TB GoFlex Desk
I’ve been quite impressed by Seagate’s GoFlex family of hard disk drives, and have bought quite a few for my own personal use. I love being able to mix and match interfaces based on immediate needs: I snap on a FireWire dock for bulk transfers from my Mac, then hand off the drive with a USB dock for maximum compatibility.
Seagate has been quite aggressive in pricing their GoFlex drives as well. I recently picked up a pair of 3 TB GoFlex Desk drives at Best Buy for under $140 each. The idea that I could buy 6 TB of capacity for under $300 is really mind blowing!
Now Seagate has announced immediate shipment of the highest capacity drive yet. The 4 TB GoFlex Desk drive will be available for a suggested retail price of $249.99, and will likely drop quickly below.
Hitachi GST’s 1 TB Deskstar 7K1000.D
A few days before this, Hitachi GST announced that they would soon ship a single platter 1 TB hard disk drive, the Deskstar 7K1000.D. This marks the first time any hard disk drive company has been able to squeeze a terabyte onto a single 3.5 inch platter, and suggests that Hitachi may soon introduce a 4 TB four platter hard disk drive of their own.
Increasing areal density is a constant trend in the storage industry, but it is important since performance and thermal efficiency are driven by it. A four platter 4 TB hard disk drive will have somewhat faster sequential access performance than a less dense drive and will run cooler as well.
This is really an amazing capacity point, but Seagate’s method and timing is a little suspect. The company reached the 4 TB mark by packing five 800 GB hard disk platters into a single drive. Considering how hot my GoFlex Desk drives run, I’m somewhat concerned by this. Clearly, Seagate took a shortcut so they could jump ahead of Western Digital/Hitachi GST in claiming to be the first to ship a 4 TB hard disk drive, but it’s likely that a family of 1 TB per platter Seagate drives will be released shortly as well. So goes the march of progress!