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Seagate Confirms 3TB Hard Drive 467

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the remember-when-20meg-was-infinity dept.
Stoobalou writes "After a few weeks of rumours, Seagate's senior product manager Barbara Craig has confirmed that the company is announcing a 3TB drive later this year, but the move to 3TB of storage space apparently involves a lot more work than simply upping the areal density. The ancient foundations of the PC's three-decade legacy has once again reared its DOS-era head, revealing that many of today's PCs are simply incapable of coping with hard drives that have a larger capacity than 2.1TB."
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Seagate Confirms 3TB Hard Drive

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  • by alen (225700) on Monday May 17, 2010 @11:49AM (#32238204)

    i have to know because i have a Win98 PC that i use to play some old games and i wanted to upgrade it

    • The 32-bit Windows XP only sees 0.99 terabyte (from the article). Win98 probably has the same limitation.

    • by armanox (826486)
      Windows 98 using Fat32 is limited to 2.1TB. Sorry to inform you of that.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Iron Condor (964856)
        FAT32 is a file system type. It can at most limit the size of a partition. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the size of a disk.
    • by aardwolf64 (160070) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:04PM (#32238518) Homepage

      I think you could probably install EVERY game from the 90s on that hard drive and still have 2.09 TB left over. :-)

  • by crow (16139) on Monday May 17, 2010 @11:50AM (#32238228) Homepage Journal

    If you move to 4K sectors, that should change the limit to 16TB, meaning that this shouldn't be an issue for several years. Why would you want .5K sectors on such a large drive anyway?

    • Or just properly support 48-bit LBA, which is a limit of 128 PiB even at 512 byte sectors.
      And GUID partition tables of course.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Gr8Apes (679165)

      Because 512 byte sectors allow for less empty space waste than anything larger.

      Imagine wasting 4095 vs 511 bytes for every file on your system (worst case scenario)

      • by larry bagina (561269) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:01PM (#32238456) Journal
        most file systems already use a 4k sector.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by omnichad (1198475)

          And if their sectors don't fall on a physical boundary, then you've just used 8KB on the physical drive.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by instagib (879544)

            And if the physical boundary is 512 bytes, this won't happen.

          • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:50PM (#32239464)

            And if their sectors don't fall on a physical boundary, then you've just used 8KB on the physical drive.

            100% false.

            You still only use 4K on the physical drive. You just have to read & write 8K at a time because the misaligned 4K filesystem block straddles two physical blocks. But since filesystem blocks are packed sequentially there is no wasted space, they are just all misaligned by the same offset.

      • Because 512 byte sectors allow for less empty space waste than anything larger.

        Imagine wasting 4095 vs 511 bytes for every file on your system (worst case scenario)

        Why not use a sane FS, then?

      • by maxume (22995) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:06PM (#32238584)

        Yeah, you would only be able to store 800 million of your oddly small files on this new drive. What a disaster.

      • by twidarkling (1537077) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:11PM (#32238672)

        Seriously? If you've got a 3TB drive, are you seriously suggesting a person be counting wasted bytes? You lose more space than what you're suggesting just in the conversion from "vendor measurement" to "OS measurement" of space on the disk.

        • by Gr8Apes (679165)

          You lose more space than what you're suggesting just in the conversion from "vendor measurement" to "OS measurement" of space on the disk.

          That's the funniest thing I've read in a long long time. I wish I hadn't posted so I could mod you +10 Funny.

      • by Simetrical (1047518) <Simetrical+sd@gmail.com> on Monday May 17, 2010 @02:08PM (#32241050) Homepage

        Because 512 byte sectors allow for less empty space waste than anything larger.

        Um, no. The sector size dictates what boundaries the OS has to do reads and writes on. It doesn't dictate how the OS uses the space. 4k sectors means that to read or write an aligned 4k filesystem block, the OS has to do one I/O operation instead of eight; and that if it wants to write a 512-byte block, it has to do a read-modify-write cycle.

        How efficiently small files get stored is a property of the filesystem, which doesn't even know about the sector size. Common filesystems all use 4k blocks or bigger anyway. Some filesystems store files smaller than 4k efficiently by packing them in with the metadata or dedicating some blocks to store several files per block. Filesystems that do this include, most notably, NTFS, and also some Linux filesystems like ReiserFS and btrfs. Wikipedia calls this block suballocation [wikipedia.org] (don't know if this term is standard). This is totally orthogonal to the sector size.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If you're on windows, you'll either need EFI or a separate boot drive.
      Windows cannot boot from driver larger than 2 TB [microsoft.com]

      The issue is, MBR doesn't support drives that big, so you have to use GPT (which Windows won't boot from w/o EFI).
      So if you're on Windows, but without EFI, you're SOL. ;)

      Also, kind of a pain [rodsbooks.com] on *nix+BIOS combos too.

  • by basketcase (114777) on Monday May 17, 2010 @11:51AM (#32238242) Homepage

    I ran into that a few years ago when I added a 4TB hardware RAID5 to my Linux server. The partition table that is made by fdisk can't handle it. I was forced to use parted to make an EFI partition table instead. It was a little different but completely doable. Took me about 2 minutes on Google to find a howto.

    • by dotwaffle (610149)

      EFI... Or LVM. LVM gives you additional benefits you may want to consider.

      • I'm not familiar with LVM. Mind giving a quick "noob's guide on what you should know"?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by vlm (69642)

          I'm not familiar with LVM. Mind giving a quick "noob's guide on what you should know"?

          Its a "pulling oneself up by ones bootstraps" thing. He was trying to make a "funny". So, on my AMD64 from like five years ago, running linux 2.6 from like five years ago, I can theoretically provision a 8 Exabyte LVM logical volume (LV) which would seem to mean a 4TB LV is small potatoes. But LVs live inside PVs (simplification). All you gotta do, is use fdisk to create a honking big 4TB physical volume partition with type 8E. Oh wait, the problem was fdisk doesn't work. A real knee slapper. But not

        • by Stradenko (160417) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:42PM (#32239256) Homepage

          Not exactly a "noob's" guide, and it hasn't been updated in awhile, but: http://tldp.org/HOWTO/LVM-HOWTO/ [tldp.org]

          Think of LVM as a layer of abstraction between physical devices (your disks and/or arrays) and the logical devices that you can then put a filesystem on. LVM lets you break your physical disks into bite-sized pieces called extents (say, 32MB each, but it's configurable), and then you can add/remove extents to a logical disk device. If you have a filesystem that supports it, you can then grow/shrink the filesystem to use the space you've allocated.

          There are also other benefits (snapshots, etc.).

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by vlm (69642)

            Not exactly a "noob's" guide, and it hasn't been updated in awhile, but: http://tldp.org/HOWTO/LVM-HOWTO/ [tldp.org]

            Not a bad noob reference. Its funny in a quaint way how it squeals about root LVM... that hasn't been a serious problem since like the Clinton administration. I know I've got vanilla out of the box Debian boxes from like half a decade ago with root LVM, just not an issue.

            It does suck in the "Why" section, in that all it does is list "What" it can do.

            Assuming the prerequisite of understanding what Xen/KVM/VMware does, think about how it wedges a layer in between the OS and the CPU so you can pool, combine,

    • by danomac (1032160) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:04PM (#32238544)
      You can also create a filesystem on the device without partitioning it. (create a filesystem on /dev/sda instead of /dev/sda1.) No worries about partitioning problems then. I did this on a 3 TB array.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      You mean GUID partition Table [wikipedia.org]. It is part of the EFI standard, however you can use a GUID partition with BIOS. Linux and FreeBSD are the only 2 OSs that can Boot from a BIOS/GUID setup.

      Windows can boot from a GUID partition table, but only on an EFI motherboard and those aren't exactly falling from the sky right now.

      Personally all of my disks are on GUID because my main OSes are Linux/MacOS X, other than my OpenSolaris server which just uses ZFS on the devices.

    • There's a simple workaround for the MBR problem with 2TB+ hard drives - for Linux.

      1) Store your boot files on a small secondary device, e.g. a USB stick. That includes: Master Boot Record, boot loader (e.g. GRUB or LILO), kernel, initrd - about 10 megabytes are easily enough.
      2) Boot the USB stick. The initrd mounts your hard drive and starts the actual /sbin/init process.

      This comes with several nice options:
      - Encrypt every single byte of your hard drive. A script in the initial ram disk asks for the passphr

  • If the problem is BIOS-related, or a legacy of DOS, or both, does this mean it will work fine on Mac OS X? All new Macs use EFI, and OS X Snow Leopard is a 64-bit OS.
    • Re:Mac OS X (Score:5, Informative)

      by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:01PM (#32238464) Journal

      Everything works on Mac, because Apple doesn't support legacy stuff. They assume any Mac older than ~5 years is obsolete, and therefore moved to 64-bit addressing long ago.

      (No I'm not trolling. I'm bitter. I had to toss a perfectly good Mac G4, just because Apple stopped supporting it, and its ancient Safari 2 browser could no longer render the web properly.)

      • Correction:

        >>>I had to [sell] a perfectly good Mac G4

      • Re:Mac OS X (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Low Ranked Craig (1327799) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:17PM (#32238778)

        Safari 3.0.4 runs on 10.4.x
        Safari 4 runs on 10.5+

        What G4 do you have that you can't install leopard on? I shoehorned Tiger onto an ancient G3 iMac from 2000, surely you can install leopard on a fairly recent G4, and if you can't you could have tried this http://lowendmac.com/osx/leopard/openfirmware.html [lowendmac.com]

        Perhaps you simply wanted a new Mac?

      • Re:Mac OS X (Score:4, Insightful)

        by diamondsw (685967) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:34PM (#32239084)

        And Firefox wouldn't work? If the machine still works for what you need to do, then you don't need to upgrade for the sake of upgrading. If it doesn't meet your needs anymore, then why complain about upgrading?

        Vendor support doesn't dictate what use you can get out of a machine. I have friends who are still running OS 9 (eek) on a G3, because it does what they need it to.

  • I can see the reviews coming in now stating that "3 terabytes is all you'll ever need to store your documents and information."
  • XP + 3 TB?? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DinZy (513280) on Monday May 17, 2010 @11:52AM (#32238284)

    Why would anyone running XP fork over the dough for a 3TB HDD? XP is 9 years old and Win7 is a very good replacement for newer machines, particularly ones who's owners might want a 3TB drive for.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by psbrogna (611644)
      Win7 is NOT replacement for XP if drivers for your hardware aren't available for Win7 & this often the case.
    • They wouldn't, but consider this: what's the smallest hard drive you can buy, and when was that capacity first launched? In 10 years, this drive will be the only type of technology available...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Facegarden (967477)

      Why would anyone running XP fork over the dough for a 3TB HDD? XP is 9 years old and Win7 is a very good replacement for newer machines, particularly ones who's owners might want a 3TB drive for.

      Because some people are perfectly happy running XP, or don't want to pay $100-$200 for a legal copy of windows 7, and don't want to pirate.

      I have a perfectly good fileserver at home that just runs XP. I use XP because it is also my backup computer for various tasks, and mostly I've just been too lazy to move it to linux.

      Either way, i've got 5TB of storage and I'd love to throw in another 3TB. Even if I fork over the money for a 3TB drive, i might not want to spend *another* $100 just for a compatible OS, ev

  • Not a huge deal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 17, 2010 @11:55AM (#32238340)

    FTFA:

    According to Seagate, this includes the 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and Vista, as well as modified versions of Linux, but it doesn’t include Windows XP. Not only that, but you may not even be able to see 2.1TB of a 3TB drive when using Windows XP.

    Sure, Windows XP won't allow it - but your grandmother who is still running XP isn't going out to buy a 3 TB drive. The early adopters who want or need this are the ones who are already running a compatible OS.

  • I had a sudden and vivid memory of the little blue ASCII box displayed by the special Western Digital bootloader I needed to bypass my old BIOS's 2GB drive size limit.

  • Maybe you could make multiple partitions, rather than treat the whole disk as a single partition?
    • by omnichad (1198475)

      It's not a filesystem problem, it's an LBA problem.

    • The problem isn't so much the partition size limitation. It's a problem that the partition schema (fdisk [wikipedia.org] in this case?) can't describe the entire drive (partition layout) of that size.

      I suppose they need to be using GPT [wikipedia.org] at this point.

      The problem is probably a combination of (1) too many blocks on the drive, and/or nonstandard block sizes. (1024/2048/4096 instead of 512 byte) - one or the other has to increase to grow the size of the device. There's been a lot of noise lately about OSs that won't like driv

  • by alvinrod (889928) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:04PM (#32238528)
    I'm aware that hard disk capacity follows a trend similar to Moore's law in that capacity roughly doubles every two years or thereabouts, but much like the CPU industry, does anyone know how far into the future magnetic storage will continue to scale at that pace? Even though solid state drives are becoming more affordable and the performance issues are being ironed out, when magnetic storage is only $70 / TB, it's hard to pass up. I'm just interested in how much longer we can expect to see capacity gains like this.

    Is there anyone who currently works in that area or has a background in magnetic storage who has a better idea?
    • by gad_zuki! (70830)

      Without multi-core, Moore's law would have ended recently. Seagate has taken that design philosophy to heart and will soon be releasing 7" and 10.5" drives to meet demand.

      • by 0123456 (636235) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:21PM (#32238840)

        Without multi-core, Moore's law would have ended recently.

        Since Moore's law is about the number of transistors on a die and nothing to do with performance (except to the extent that more transistors allows higher performance), multiple cores are irrelevant: we could be running Pentium-4s with 16MB of cache instead of hexa-cores with 12MB of cache and Moore's Law would be just as valid.

      • While I'm sure you meant that in jest, with the current popularity of external drives, increasing physical form factor actually could be an option in the market.

      • No, Moore's is still valid. It proposes that transistor count on IC double around 18 months. Dose not impose anything on clock rate or core count on a single die.

        Moore's law is also unrelated to mass storage.

        Technically, hard drives are a very different problem domain.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by twidarkling (1537077)

      I think we're coming close to the limits now. I've heard that there's already interference in the data tracks from the other nearby tracks' magnetic fields, and to make it much smaller will need some advances in error checking/correction.

    • by kimvette (919543) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:22PM (#32238858) Homepage Journal

      I'm just interested in how much longer we can expect to see capacity gains like this.

      Do you know how long that question has been asked, and how many times "theoretical limits" would be reached within a year at the current rate, and each time, new techniques have been developed which increase density many times more than anyone previously imagined? I think storage density will be increasing for that much longer.

      15 years ago when you were paying $500 for a 320MB hard drive, did you ever anticipate your home PC would someday have a capacity of multiple terabytes? Could you imagine that a laptop would ever be able to hold over a terabyte? The capacity we have nowadays is staggering, and when back when you had your 320MB to 512MB hard drive and were thinking "I'll never fill this up" only a few were bothering with MP3s and PVR technologies (I bought my first video capture/TV tuner card around that time) and I'll bet few ever fathomed that a user could fill terabytes' worth of hard drives. Now it's cheap to build home recording studios, or even engage in amateur independent movie production with only a few hundred dollars' worth of equipment, running free software.

      It's amazing, and with storage capacity growth increasing (not decreasing) we'll find new ways to fill up the storage media, very likely doing things we haven't anticipated even today.

      • by vlm (69642) on Monday May 17, 2010 @01:06PM (#32239790)

        15 years ago when you were paying $500 for a 320MB hard drive, did you ever anticipate your home PC would someday have a capacity of multiple terabytes? Could you imagine that a laptop would ever be able to hold over a terabyte?

        Yes, yes I did. I notice your very high six digit UID. Now when my father's employer paid something like $20K for a 5 meg DASD the size of a filing cabinet when I was a little kid, I never imagined I could buy my own personal "winchester disc" for less than "a buck a meg" but I finally did that on sale around 1990-ish timeframe. At that point you kind of get the idea that increasing capacity is a way of life. And its been that way for decades.

    • by roman_mir (125474)

      It is already over now, to put more data onto a magnetic HD you add more platters or increase the radius, that's all.

    • by Muerte23 (178626)

      While CPU power seems to double every 18 months or so, for the past (almost) 20 years hard drive size has doubled every 14 months*. Eventually hard drives will be so large that CPUs will never be able to access all the information. I guess then the key is being able to find the information you want to access, which is why I suppose it would be good to buy GOOG even now.

      * 40 MB in 1991, 3 TB in 2010. This trend has held true at many points in between.

    • by Atrox666 (957601)

      Memristor technology is promising 2 petabytes in a cm^3

    • by gemada (974357) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:56PM (#32239564)
      as long as there is porn, the growth will continue (pun intended)
  • Why can't we just move on and apply the sweet R&D money on the SSDs?

    I guess that the "classic" hard drives will reach some sort of physical limit sometime in the (not so distant) future.

    Why won't the big boys start to work hard on the SSDs?

    It's almost as reading a headline like this "New awesome floppies will be released in a new 10 MB size! - 'USB flash disks are overrated and expensive, nothing beats a good old floppy disk' a spokesperson for a floppy disk manufacturer said"

    • "Why can't we just move on and apply the sweet R&D money on the SSDs?"

      We already are spending money on SSD's, just because you can afford them doesn't mean everyone or every business needs them. It's a simple cost benefit analysis.

    • Re:Can we move on? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:18PM (#32238800) Journal
      Probably because "the big boys" in HDD manufacture have basically nothing interesting to bring to the SSD table(other than, possibly, some fairly generic interface patents). With the possible exception of HDD r/w head manufacture, which has gotten more chip-fab like as sizes and tolerances have gotten more demanding, the manufacturing methods for the two types of drive are basically nothing alike.

      Even the controller/controller firmware design isn't all that similar. HDD controllers have the task of extracting useful digital data from the ever fainter and denser analog magnetic fields on the platter. SSD controllers basically spend their time papering over the fact that Flash has highly asymmetric read/write behavior.

      Unless they fancy the idea of trying to recast themselves as semiconductor companies all of a sudden, the HDD guys are doing pretty much the most sensible thing available to them: running like hell in the direction of capacities that SSDs can't touch for less than a king's ransom.
    • by Spad (470073)

      For the same reason that we haven't all been using Fibre Channel drives for the last 10 years; just because there's something "faster" available doesn't mean that it's good value for money.

      I'm quite happy with my cheap & slowish 1Tb magnetic drives for large amounts of infrequently accessed data and don't really want to spend multiple times that for sub-ms access times. Yes, eventually SSDs will probably overtake magnetic storage simply because they have the potential to outdo them in the capacity stake

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      I guess that the "classic" hard drives will reach some sort of physical limit sometime in the (not so distant) future.

      I believe you'll find that SSDs are closer to their physical limits than hard drives are at this point, though both are likely to hit those limits before long; as I understand it flash memory isn't expected to scale down more than another two or three generations of transistor size.

      And there are far more people willing to spend $200 on a 3TB hard drive than there are willing to spend $200 on an 80GB SSD.

    • by hedwards (940851)
      Probably because traditional hard disks are still the cheapest and the largest and not by a small margin either. At some point they'll get to the point where they've done all they can, but the size of the HDD at this point is so far ahead of what most people need that it won't be for quite a while that we need something better.
    • Re:Can we move on? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Voyager529 (1363959) <voyager529 AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:42PM (#32239252)

      Why can't we just move on and apply the sweet R&D money on the SSDs?

      They are.

      I guess that the "classic" hard drives will reach some sort of physical limit sometime in the (not so distant) future.

      Of course they will. But at that point they'll start talking about alternative form factors if they can't squeeze more bits into the same space.

      Why won't the big boys start to work hard on the SSDs?

      They are. The problem is that they're still expensive to manufacture and they still need to pay off their R&D.

      It's almost as reading a headline like this "New awesome floppies will be released in a new 10 MB size! - 'USB flash disks are overrated and expensive, nothing beats a good old floppy disk' a spokesperson for a floppy disk manufacturer said"

      More like "New awesome floppies will be released in 500MB size and cost 10 bucks a pop" circa 2002 when 128MB USB flash disks cost nearly $100. the proportions might be off, but ultimately flash media outran the floppy disk 'cuz it quickly outpaced it in cost/MB, transfer rates were dog slow, and they were incredibly unreliable. Note that in 2010, I bought a 250GB external hard drive for $50 at Wal-Mart, whereas a 256GB flash drive costs over $800 on Newegg. A 1TB Seagate spinning platter drive costs $85 on Newegg, wheras 1TB of OCZ flash memory costs over $3,000 and is the highest I've seen commercially avaialable. I personally don't mind saving $2,915 by using an older technology.

  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:18PM (#32238788)

    You need to be able to use larger than 32-bit block addresses. This is possible since the LBA spec uses 48-bit addresses. But the internals of some OSes use only 32-bit block addresses. The solution to this is to use a 64-bit OS. That allows 48-bit addresses (and then some).

    Another other problem is that the MBR disk partitioning scheme uses 32-bit block addresses, so you can't partition a disk larger than 2TB. But the answer to this is to use GUID disk partitioning.

    Finally there's your BIOS, it probably only supports MBR and 32-bit LBA. GUID disk partitioning supports making your disk look like an MBR disk so you can boot off it. You'll have to boot off a partition that starts within the first 2TB of the disk, but other than that you should be okay. Just make sure to never use any tools that think your disk is an MBR disk when you are repartitioning it or otherwise accessing it directly.

    Windows 7 (or Vista) 64-bit supports >32-bit LBA and GUID disk partitioning.

    And then finally hope you don't get any nasty viruses that try to go around the OS to access the disk (so as not to be detected) and mess it up when the calculations overflow 32 bits.

  • by tverbeek (457094) on Monday May 17, 2010 @01:08PM (#32239808) Homepage

    Am I the only one who misread this as "Senate Confirms 3TB Hard Drive"? I didn't even know that machines could be nominated to the Supreme Court!

"From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere." -- Dr. Seuss

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