back to article Disk capacity growth rate slowing

Hard disk drive capacity growth rates are slowing and two 2.5-inch drive capacity increases are in qualification with drive manufacturers, according to TDK. The firm is a major hard disk drive head manufacturer and its read/write heads have to match the areal density capabilities of the media they are moving across. In its …


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  1. Charles 9

    >2TB won't matter much...

    ...for most PCs because of the limitations of the BIOS. Quite simply, barring some new BIOS stopgap or a jarring switch to EFI, PC BIOSes can't properly see drives bigger than 2TB.

    Any votes for what comes next? A move to EFI or a BIOS stopgap measure?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      What comes next you ask? ...

      ... a move to a Mac unencumbered by ancient BIOS technology of course ;b

    2. Jerome 0


      Oh Christ, not another stupid BIOS limitation - I wasn't aware of that one coming up. Why must we go through this crap again and again - will they never learn?

      Oh well, hopefully they'll increase it to something sensible like 8Tb this time around - we'll never hit a limit like that.

  2. Andraž 'ruskie' Levstik

    Hmm that's a tough one...

    of course a stopgap meassure... happened each and every time.

  3. Dick Jones

    ...rough 2:1 correlation...

    A rough correlation? What you actually mean is, (3.5/2.5)**2 = 1.96 ~ 2.

    You weren't very good at maths at school, were you?

  4. Bill Neal


    You all seem to forget the other problem, and that is the physical limitations of HDDs in speed. No matter how much you cram onto a single platter, it doesn't really matter if there is a faster option to handle so much data. Just look at tape drives, because everybody uses those, and they never fail. Right?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Dick Jones

    You might need to explain that you are talking about the relative surface areas....

  6. Ammaross Danan


    I, for one, will assume a BIOS stopgap (you read it here first!). Simply because a stopgap would be (roughly) a quick implementation and potential retrofit for existing hardware. Switching completely over to an EFI-based solution would be the ideal, albeit more expensive, solution. Of course we have the chicken-and-egg problem once again... what Mobo manufacturer will switch ALL their boards to EFI without a drive that requires it? Who would buy a drive over 2TB that doesn't work on any PC (except on one Asus? mobo). Yes, Apple runs EFI and thus the "PC" qualification. Of course, they'd never sell a stock computer with 2TB+ hard drive space anyway. You're lucky they decided to up their drives to 640GB.

    Next question would be, sure, the BIOS won't recognize the >2TB drive capacity (at least, anything above 2TB), but what about USB-attached drives? I would assume these drives would at least be usable as externals.

  7. Chris in NZ


    NTFS needs to use GPT instead of MBR to use disks > 2TB.

    Yeah, you'd think they'd have improved this by now!

    So no booting windows of any flavour from these large disks!!!


    Not necessarily: a large area is lost where the motor is. So unless the motor size is decreased proportionally in smaller disks, the ratio of useful areas may not be what you mention.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    oh blah

    EFI actually has a good shot at it this time because it is intel's patented mediocre stopgap solution where a better idea was already deployed elsewhere. But then, maybe not, seeing how it's associated with itanic, and the existing patented mediocre stopgap solution with added cruft on top has a wide and well-established installed base.

  9. Michael Strorm Silver badge

    Growth has been slowing for years now

    This isn't news- the growth of hard drive capacities has been slowing for *years* now. It's nowhere near as fast as it was during the 1990s and early 2000s.

    During the 90s we went from 80-120MB being middle of the road (circa 1993) to 3-6GB being average (circa 1998, five years later). I got an 80GB drive circa 2002 for a similar price to my 8GB drive in 1999.

    Taking the exponential effect into account over a longer period throws the difference into even sharper relief.

    2TB drives are only now in the position 1TB models were over two years ago. By the standards of most industries, this would be phenomenal growth- but by those of hard disk storage, they're pretty lacklustre.

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