back to article 2010: the 5TB 3.5in HDD cometh

Hitachi has pledged to release a 5TB 3.5in hard drive within two years, and it claims two of the drives will boast enough capacity to store everything in your brain. According to a report by Nikkei Net, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies will use Current-Perpendicular-to-Plane Giant Magnetoresistance (CPP-GMR) magnetc read …


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  1. D

    In 2020

    Do you think we'll look back at these 5TB disks we had in 2010 and laugh at their puny size?

  2. Ryan

    @ D

    Like how we laugh at 120Mb ones now? ;¬)

  3. Mike

    Re: In 2020

    "Do you think we'll look back at these 5TB disks we had in 2010 and laugh at their puny size?"

    I doubt it, even now many people who don't have massive mp3 or tv show collections grabbed from the net are still able to use a 20gig drive and not feel too cramped.

    If you consider the current top of the line is approx 1Tb, then they are only using 1/50th of the capacity of these drives... and I don't think that this will get much higher in the next 2 years.

    So while some users will always be hitting the limits of their storage capacities, I think the average will be somewhere between these extremes and over about 200gig really wont care.

    Biggest issue I see with these mega-capacity drives is the error rates of them doesn't seem to be going down. On a raid controller that will abort a rebuild if it encounters an error, a rebuild on RAID5 at these capacities is likely to fail a lot due to these unrecoverable errors. We need some new filesystem types (ZFS gets us most of the way there) that checksum internally and can recover from these types of errors.

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  5. Anonymous Coward

    5TB HDD reliability

    Its only 2008 now, Hitatchi made no actual guarantee that by 2010 they will release a 5TB HDD. How much would it cost? Probably far too much for most DIY computer enthusiasts to afford!!

    I wouldn't want a 5TB HDD anyway? What if it failed and lost 5TB of data?

    If I did need 5TB of storage, I'd much rather use multiple smaller capacity HDDs and have one of those fail instead of loosing all 5TB at once.

  6. soaklord


    Nope. They'll look back on them and laugh at how big they were. 5TB on a 3.5" form factor? My nanoSD chip has that. And why would you mess with moving parts? How quaint.

  7. Richard Cartledge


    Other people say 31,000TB of brain storage capacity, just who's right?

  8. Jim Kirk

    How times change!

    I entered the computer industry in 1978 in the U. S.

    Hard disks of *any* size were unknown. The very first hard drive I ever saw weighed about 20 pounds and was about 26" X 26" X 4" (roughly 66cm X 66cm X 10cm).

    AFTER formatting, it held 5 million bytes of data (5 MB); using 66 characters per line and 25 lines per page, that gave you just over 3,000 pages of storage.

    With the 5 TB drive, you're looking at about 3 *billion* (3 million million) pages of storage! And you can easily slip it in your pocket!

    I can't begin to imagine what we will have in 2020--business card sized 50 terabyte drives? It's certainly possible!

    We truly need to celebrate our computer scientist (I'm not one) much more than we do!

  9. Mark Rendle

    Parkinson's Law (of Data)

    Data expands to fill the space available for storage.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: 5TB HDD reliability

    Too true. A mate of mine stuffed everything he had on a 500Gb disk and that failed suddenly. Never seen a grown man cry so much before...

  11. Bill Coleman

    Data Conversion

    What nerd figured out how to represent the contents of a human memory in terms of binary data storage anyway? That sounds incredably dubious to me. For a start the electro-chemical memory storage used by the brain is not understood yet. Let alone do we have the capacity to extract / convert this data into a binary form. So how the hell would anyone know how much storage would be required??? Plus our memories are extremely subjective - they are not a static data dump.

    Aaarrrgh... that sort of sensationalist psudo-science pisses me off. (or maybe I'm just low on caffeen today)

  12. Brett Weaver
    Thumb Up


    RAID5? Hopefully that format will be well dead by then. My clients mirror their devices. Its faster for writes and reads are nearly twice as fast.

    Raid5 was almost justifyable when disk space was at a premium. Now it should not be on anyones SAN. And that includes Raid10!! Mirrored Raid 5! Who the hell thought that one up?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ jim kirk

    "3 *billion* (3 million million)"

    you mean 3 thousand million. Only 1 x 10^3 out

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    5TB - dat's a lot of pr0n

    By the time these drives are available to the general public, the only legitimate downloadable files will have Paris and co. in them. Better get busy, lass.

  15. Michael Dunn

    Changing Times indeed

    By 2010, Vista SP5 will eat up 2TB and take 3 days to install - once a month at least.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    It's the physicists, duh!

    It's not computer scientists you should celebrate, it's the physicists who invented the methods for storing data like this.

  17. alistair millington
    Thumb Up

    Re@ in 2020

    I doubt it, you won't be abel to laugh as that will be considered free thought and therefore illegal

    And the 5TB will be filled with security to prevent being watched by everyone and his dog as your data is pimped out to anyone with the cash, not that you could download anything to fill 5TB as that will be illegal and no one could afford the legal versions of the data as prices will be sky high.

    Or is it just me that thinks that is the way this country is going...

    5TB though is scary, not so long ago 1TB was considered pipe dreams on a desktop.

  18. Pete Burgess

    @AC @ jim kirk

    Let me guess, you're a yank right? Jim is right, 1 billion = 1 million million on these fair shores! At least it did when I went to school

  19. Abrii's World

    20G enough? Not in my world.

    It's not just pr0n, mp3's, or illegal downloads that take up space now a days and there is no way a 20gig HD is enough, for most users I know any way.

    Using Windows XP, it takes up 10gig alone and that's down from the install it came from Dell with as I immediately get rid of Remote assistance as well as their "free" spyware/virus stuff and use my own. then there's the swap, e-mail program and browser because if you're smart you are not using IE or Outlook. Then there is the usual anti virus, anti spyware, firewall.....

    Heck I'm an avid computer games player, work in the industry as well, and just one of my current MMOs takes up 27gig (Age of Conan), EQ2 is another 30ish (mind you there are screen shots), and the smallest of them all is a toss up between Guild Wars, Imperial Wars and Anarchy Online, which take up about 3gig each so there's another 9gig there. Then there are the stand alone games, plus the ones sent to me to review that I install, play, report on then delete. For gamers HD space is essential because they aren't just running these games either they are also running things like talk programs to arrange raids on with their teams, damage calculators, and other add ons to enhance their game experience. I know a few are going to welcome more space.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @AC@jim kirk

    No, he is wrong and so are you.

    And I'm not a yank, I'm a Brit scientist who knows that a billion is 1 x 10^9 ie a thousand million.

    1 x 10^3 = 1 thousand (Kilo) as in kilobyte

    1 x 10^6 = 1 million (Mega) as in megabyte

    1 x 10^9 = 1 billion (Giga) as in gigabyte

    1 x 10^12 = 1 trillion (Tera) as in terabyte

    Note the logical progression with each 1 x 10^3 higher than the former.

    Does any of this sound familiar?

  21. Anonymous Coward

    5TB Drives

    5TB drives probably will cost the same as 1TB drives cost when they came out, and their prices will quickly drop. I have about 320GB of combined storage capacity on one aging machine, and wish I had a Ton more storage. If I had the money and the time I would love to have my entire DVD collection on a hard drive without reducing image quality. Imagine having 300+ movies, and TV shows at your finger tips... using nothing more then a wireless keyboard and mouse or another suitable pointing device to select the movie of your choice and hit play. If I had my way the movies would be in a searchable data base, able to pick a movie based on various criteria. Title, Actor, genre, etc. Maybe even track when you last watched a movie, suggest movies based on time of year....say near the christmas season list titles like A Christmas Story, Scrooge, Nightmare before Christmas, Christmas Vacation, maybe show Amazon listings for movies you may want to purchase based on what you are looking for. I think you can never have too much storage.

  22. Pete Burgess

    @AC "I'm an anonymous scientist so there!"

    From Oxford University (and they know a thing or two)...


    [Etymology: Lat: ‘two’] Symbol bn. Often used to mean a huge number, but specifically defined traditionally as:

    North America = 1 000 million = (1 000)2 thousand, = 10(3×2)+3 = 109.

    UK = 1 000 000 million = (million)2, = 106×2 = 1012.The index value 2 following the bracket in each is the respective etymological factor. The billion is clearly ambiguous and confusing in the intercontinental context, so should be avoided. However, the escalation of so many countable entities, from money to humans, makes such large terms of growing appropriateness.

    I'm in UK, therefore 1 billion = 1 million million. I refuse to be yanked!

  23. Astarte

    Millions,, Zillions, Trillians . . .

    Generally a million is 10^6 or 1,000,000. Easy to remember - it's just a 'one' followed by six noughts. The UK billion used to be a million million or 10^6 times10^6 which is 10^12, or 1 followed by 12 noughts. However International standardisation has resulted in the billion being specified as one thousand million (10^3 times 10^6) resulting in a value of 10^9. In the UK and Europe we’ve adopted the billion as 10^9 (or in Germany ‘milliard’ where it is simply defined as a thousand million). There was a discrepancy between the ‘Short’ and ‘Long’ forms of numbering.

    In 1974 the ‘Short’ form was adopted for international use. Every new term greater than a million is 1,000 (or 10^3) times the previous term: "billion" means "a thousand millions" (10^9), "trillion" means "a thousand billions" (10^12), and so on. (I preferred the ‘Long’ style because it offered greater scope for expansion.)

    It all sits nicely on the geometric scale of increasing exponents in steps of three –

    10^0 = 1

    10^1 = 10

    10^2 = 100

    10^3 = 1000

    10^6 = 1000000

    10^9 = 1000000000

    10^12 = 1000000000000

    Once the exponent gets into double figures it becomes difficult to visualise. One day we'll using exponents as exponents e.g. – 10^(10^24 and they won’t be based on base 10) – if a new system is not discovered, or invented. Maybe the decimal system is becoming outdated – why just ten digits anyway – did the earlier people have no toes? Most people use, without realising it, a 60+ base for everyday life (0-10, a-z, A-Z). Computers go one better with base 16 and the Internet uses base 62 for a lot of things. Maybe humans will experience a mind-leap and conceive a better system.

    What the hell, these numbers become astronomical anyway. Sure it would be nice to have 5TB, 50TB or 500TB memory but how much time do you need to write, search or even read this stuff, let alone backing it up? It certainly offers great scope for losing stuff (‘Oh, I’m sorry, I appear to have left the entire history of the world on the train’). Any comparison with the human brain is facile because it omits the brain’s intellectual power at forming and recognising patterns. How many bytes do you need to express for example a smell or an emotion ?

    Maybe when we’ve all got used to giga-, tera-, petra-, exa-, zeta- and yotta- (10^24) prefixes, their offspring (and their inverses) for the real things that make up our universe (e.g. yocto 10^-24), we’ll realise that a new method of describing things is called for. At the moment we tend to think only of things we can visualise but later, when we’ve learnt a bit more some form of lateral thinking may appear. We’ll probably have to wait until we have developed a bit, if we haven’t singed our toes of by then.

    Anyway I still prefer one Trillian (A.K.A. Pat or Tricia), that’ll do me – much more easy to visualise. 'Z, Z, plural Z, alpha' appears to be a perfectly rational number to me (it’s probably a prime but I haven’t cracked that one yet).

    Mine's the one with 3^2 tails and a bandage.

  24. Daniel

    computers... base 16?

    I always thought computers were base 8?

    8 bits in a byte?

    or is it base 2? (binary)

    I'd hardly say hex is its number system?

    maybe im just senile

  25. greg

    daniel... base 16??

    Computers work in binary. Anything on top of that is just logistical and used to carry out extended functions, making things easier for programmers.

  26. ben

    file system concerns

    My brain uses SquishyFS, can partition magic mount that?

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