back to article Western Digital gearing up to sell 3TB drives

Western Digital is tipped to barge into the 3.5 inch 3TB drive market as early as this month. Techarp has been told WD will launch a set of 3TB 3.5-inch hard disk drives (HDD) later this month. Currently only Seagate ships a 3TB dive, a 5-platter unit available as an external drive or included in its BlackArmor NAS desktop …


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  1. dave 81

    3 000 000 000 000 bytes = 2.72848411 terabytes

    Just though it should be pointed out that 3Tb on the box doesn't mean 3Tb in the machine.

    1. Adam 10

      Yawn: TB not TiB

      Dave, I'm afraid I have to be a pedant here and correct your pedantry...

      You must have missed the solution that was reached in the scientific and engineering (inc IT) community, many many years ago: tera- = 10^12. tebi- = 2^32 (the "bi" part covers the fact it is a base-2 abbreviation, ie "binary").

      Some in the IT world refuse to acknowledge that tera is a base-10 prefix and continue to use it to represent the base-2 prefix "tebi", however as you don't seem to realise that "b" represents "bits" and "B" represents "bytes", I don't think you reside in the IT, scientific or engineering worlds.

      3000000000000 bytes = 3.00TB = 2.73TiB

      And a machine with 3Tb inside has 375GB inside (assuming 8-bit bytes)

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Adam 10 = Retentive

        nuff said.

      2. JEDIDIAH

        It's all about the significant digits.

        > You must have missed the solution that was reached

        > in the scientific and engineering (inc IT) community...

        ...which does nothing to alter the fact that you are dealing with devices that have limitations that have nothing to do with powers of ten.

        When I was a kid, the propaganda about the metric system was that it was somehow more sensible. It wasn't just some randomly assigned bit of nonsense. It was actually supposed to be more useful and more practical.

        The idea of forcing a square peg into a binary hole flies in the face of all of that.

        A proper Terabyte is a number that can be expressed with ONE signficant digit in it's native format.

        Some outside of IT continue to ignore the fact that computing is a base 2 enterprise.

      3. dave 81


        For the clarification, but the truth is much clearer:

        Adam 10 you are a pedantic smuck.

  2. ZeroSum

    Now actually make the things available to buy

    The Seagate 3TB has been out for a while now but try buying the thing. It doesn't seem to be easily available. I hope WD does a better job of actually getting their 3TB to market in reasonable numbers at a decent price. Will there be any cheap 3TBs by Christmas?

    1. James 6

      And from the article...

      "Currently only Seagate ships a 3TB dive, a 5-platter unit available as an external drive or included in its BlackArmor NAS desktop product."

      If you were trying to find it as in internal drive that would be why you couldn't.

  3. Nigel 11

    Software problem

    There's a software problem for internal drives bigger than 2Tb, in that the classic partition table can't describe a drive bigger than 2Tb. I expect this will seriously hold back the availability of monster internal drives, because the manufacturers and distributors will be scared of a vast number of product returns from Joes who don't understand this issue or what to do about it.

    (Sigh) Why didn't they migrate to an extended partition table format as soon as drives were big enough that losing a few kilobytes wasn't a significant loss? By now it would have become the default for everything, and there would be no problem at all.

    (Suggestion) they could hard-partition the drive into two sub-2Tb zones, using two SATA LUNs, as a jumper-selected option. Linux would grok that without any difficulty. Windows ?... couldn't care less.

    1. Aaron 10
      Jobs Halo


      Then again, if PCs were using EFI BIOSes, this wouldn't be a problem. Macs, having EFI BIOS since the Intel switchover, have no problems using these 3TB drives internally.


      1. Ammaross Danan


        The unfortunate truth in the PC world is things get implemented based on consumer takeup. In the fruit world of the Apple flavour, the hardware is unilaterally pushed from the trunk itself. An EFI BIOS is one of the last bastions preventing OSX from easily installing on a PC, which is probably why Steve put it in Macs. However, there are a few boards out there which support EFI, and likely would be able to use such a drive, assuming a GUID-based partition which point it becomes: Linux: Yes. Windows: who knows.

        Technology restrained by a monopoly: Intel vs USB3/SATA3 for reference. Fortunately, AMD-based mobos that fully support SATA3, and have a couple USB3 ports, are readily found for <$100. Hopefully EFI BIOS will follow soon.

  4. J. Eckerman

    Old School

    I may be showing my age but I was taught to conserve space, clean up your old data and take out the trash. My problem with 2TB, 3TB, 10TB.......??? is very simple. It is on a mechanical device in a magnetic format that has a tendency to "age" with the magnetic domains interfering with each other over a long term and to "crash" as in the head physically scraping the data off the disk surface. Therefore, unless refreshed annually (?) it in not a good long term storage solution and for short term storage, how much data do I trust to a single mechanical device? This would then imply that I need several units to make sure that all of my data is safe from a crash. The problem with these large sizes and bulk storage is the time it takes for backups and updates and now I have to make several copies.

    The drive industry is talking 10X and 100X the current capacities. No thanks. That’s OK for large projects but normal applications I would rather keep my data in smaller segments for easier backup. The only real value to me, other than special applications, is that making drives bigger means the cost of the smaller ones drops. Please go buy the 3TB units. With 5 platters and 10 heads, this means that there is 600GB on the single platter dual head version and although the cost won’t be one fifth, it will be substantially lower and much less susceptible to crashing.

    Size is for power geeks. I want to hear how this impacts the low end cost.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Thermal decay has already done it's damage in the first day after you wrote the data. If you're not going to refresh after a few hours or perhaps a week, don't even bother. And if you're storing the drive at anything remotely like room temperature don't even bother.

      Crashes are a real concern but particles are the bigger worry. Load/Unload drives are more robust because there's nothing to crash when the head is unloaded which is one of the reasons the industry has moved to load/unload.

      And it's cheaper to add a platter than to take one away. A 5 disc drive isn't 5 times the price of a 1 disc drive but some factor less than that. It's worse going the other way. A one disc drive is more than 1/5 the cost of a 5 disc drive assuming the same technology is used in both.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    Vista supports GPT, so no problem there.

    XP is technically in extended support stage. xp64 supports GPT as well, but is probably only installed on a handfull of systems. A simple sticker/manual entry that states "Not compatible with Windows XP" should suffice.

    Linux and other OSes won't have a problem anyway.

    I don't think a nasty hardware fix to what is a software problem should be implemented. It would lead to further problems down the track. This is a classical problem of ripping a band-aid quickly or implementing a mechanism to do it gently for you which will need to be decommissioned after the job is done.

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