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Seagate Releases 3TB External Drive for $250 272

A few anonymous readers noted that Seagate has released a 3TB external drive. This makes it the largest 3.5-inch in its class, and it is available with USB 2, 3, or FireWire. That's more capacity than my entire four-drive RAID for just $250.
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Seagate Releases 3TB External Drive for $250

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  • One drive are two? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Snowhare ( 263311 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:31AM (#32729778)

    External RAID arrays have been around for a while. Is this just a conventional RAID0 or really a 3 TB single drive?

  • Re:Ugh. Seriously? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:36AM (#32729836)

    Same thing I immediately thought. 3GB by itself is simply not interesting. What I'd be much MORE interested in is taking 4 of these things and putting them into my FreeNAS RAID setup (which is currently running 1GB drives).

    I've had too many drive failures over the years to trust anything too valuable to a single drive.

  • Meh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jridley ( 9305 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:37AM (#32729866)

    Call me when price is comparable per GB to 1.5T drives. They're about $90, so when the 3T is $180, it starts to become interesting. I'd have to go to RAID 6 to fold 3Ts into my array of 1.5Ts though.

  • by sarkeizen ( 106737 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:40AM (#32729908) Journal
    Oh someone at engadget said so...well that can't be in error... Anyway unless they opened it up or Seagate states somewhere on their web page that it is a single drive. It seems reasonable to remain skeptical. It seems weird that Seagate would release an external drive without trying to capitalize on the drive inside...I would figure the market for internal 3TB drives is bigger than external ones.
  • by GNUALMAFUERTE ( 697061 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <etreufamla>> on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:45AM (#32729980)

    Because of two reasons:

    1st) It's too damn slow to run an operating system from it, so they force you to use it as a second disk, through a slow interface like USB, so you won't notice.
    2nd) It doesn't work in 99% of all bioses, and it probably requires a special driver to work through USB (at least on winslow systems).

    They are masquerading the issues behind USB.

  • Re:Buy two (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:45AM (#32729982)
    That's true, however, what I'd recommend is partitioning them into smaller segments anyways. Main reason being that you really don't want a filesystem problem to take 3 tebibytes worth of data with it. The alternative though is to go with something like ZFS or probably any of the other copy on write filesystems out there they shouldn't be as sensitive as things like NTFS and the various FAT iterations.
  • by sarkeizen ( 106737 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:50AM (#32730066) Journal
    I'll comment on my own thing that is interesting is the physical dimensions of the box:

    6 x 5 x 2

    considering that seagates 3.5" drives are approximately:

    1 x 4 x 6

    Which seems to eliminate the possibility that this is two 3.5 drives. It could still be multiple 2.5" drives but without looking at pricing I'm not sure how feasible that is (and I don't think Seagate is shipping 1TB 2.5's yet)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:57AM (#32730186)

    Back in 2007 and 2008 we Fujitsu and Hitachi both claimed we'd have 5TB hard disks by 2010

    Clearly they're falling well short of their goal. Thinking back I remember having the following hard disks at the following times:

    1996 - 540MB
    1999 - 8GB
    2002 - 300GB

    Back then we were seeing a growth of capacity that's an order of magnitude larger than we're seeing today. This isn't entirely accurate since I recall when I bought the 300GB drive it was the largest you could get, but when I got the 540MB drive 1.2GB drives were available (don't remember what the biggest was in 1998). However it still comes down to about 2x growth every three years now versus 20x growth every three years then.

    Personally I think in these days of 24Mbit/sec HD video cameras and media servers we need capacity now more than ever (especially considering you need to buy twice your required capacity to backup). Sadly it's taking a painfully long time just to get internal 3TB drives out, forget the 5TB drives we were promised a few years ago.

    Perhaps they just want to sell us multiple drives instead of one larger drive, thus keeping their profits up?

  • by Snowhare ( 263311 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @10:03AM (#32730304)

    Dammit. I had a nicely linked response all written. And then I clicked on one of my own links in the preview. Sigh.

    Ok. I actually did read TFA before I posted (having long since learned not to trust Slashdot headlines ;) ).

    I have now visited Seagate's own tech page []on the drives. They do not clearly state anywhere that it is a single drive inside the case. But you can infer that from the external case dimensions of 6.22 in x 4.88 in x 1.73 in that there isn't enough room for two 3.5" drives.

    Having been in this business for a long time I have learned that if you don't ask the right questions computer manufacturers will happily sell you a 'pig in a poke []'.

  • by Snowhare ( 263311 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @10:13AM (#32730470)

    Someone else suggested that they may be using the lower expectations of the external USB hard drive market (slower drives) to launch a drive that isn't 'up to snuff' performance wise for traditional internal drive use. Nowhere on their web pages for the drive do they give any performance numbers.

    That may be the 'pig in a poke' aspect here. It may be a really big, but really slow drive.

  • by sarkeizen ( 106737 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @10:30AM (#32730708) Journal
    Perhaps so but the dichotomy of fast/slow drives has existed on the bare drive market for a while. I'm not discounting it being a 3TB drive and as seagate said in the other article they are planning on shipping the 3TB drives this year.

    One thing it could be doing isn't utilizing "lower expectation" but rather "lower demand". If the USB market is, as I suspect significantly smaller than the bare drive market then it might be a good place to start shipping in order to ramp up production or even work out some bugs. To avoid the problems they had with their other groundbreaking drive the 1.5TB!
  • by sunspot42 ( 455706 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @10:38AM (#32730834)

    If you're going to do it, at least go software RAID so that you don't have to worry about having a back up controller and worrying if that works.

    Uh, bad idea. If your array is corrupted and you can't boot into the OS, your software RAID array could become totally inaccessible. I had this happen on an XP box with one of Intel's crappy hardware/software RAID arrays. Box couldn't boot, array was corrupted, and my slipstreamed XP disc didn't have the drivers required to run on my SATA DVD drive. Whoops!

    Instead of buying an EIDE DVD drive, which would have worked with my XP disc, I ended up just upgrading to Win 7, which did work with the SATA DVD drive and which recognized and rebuilt the array. Still, it was a huge hassle and about a $100 expense.

    Never again. If I ever bother with RAID in the future, it'll be with a (popular) hardware RAID controller. No more Winmodem-esque RAID solutions for me, thank you. But I honestly think RAID is a waste of time for home machines. You'd be better off spending that money on offsite backup solutions like CrashPlan.

  • by Maltheus ( 248271 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @10:39AM (#32730858)

    For you maybe. For me, disk space is and has always been the one thing that can't keep up. I don't ever need to max my ram, cpu, or gpu. But until they make a quantum leap in disk capacity (like 100 TB), I'll always been on the verge of being overwhelmed by data accumulation (mostly video).

  • Re:Ugh. Seriously? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @12:06PM (#32732212) Journal

    I had a dual P3, which was not too expensive. Before that, I turned down a dual 200MHz PPro for free. The BP6 (which took two Celerons) made dual-CPU cheap, although it was still quite cool.

    Hard drives have been 'multicore' for a while now. A typical drive incorporates multiple platters. The problem is that a failure in one typically results in all of them dying. There are roughly three things that can go wrong with a drive:

    • The controller dies (affects everything it is controlling).
    • The drive motor dies (prevents the heads moving)
    • Some grit gets under the head and damages the platter (as the grit moves around, can damage all platters).

    It might be interesting if they could build thinner drives, where you had only a single platter but everything else (controller, motors, and so on) replicated so that you could have RAID 1 / 5 / Z in a smaller physical form factor.

  • by FromageTheDog ( 775349 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @12:24PM (#32732410)
    Same here. Two of the 7200.11 drives (with updated firmware) died on me in the last year, and one of the RMA replacements also died soon after deployment (I know, I know, never use refurbs in a NAS; I learnt my lesson the hard way). So that's three for me too. I'd love to say "screw Seagate! Never again!" except that I'm hard pressed to find any manufacturer with a known "good" model -- they all seem to have issues. Don't even get me started on WDC. Seagate was the one go-to brand, and at this point I really don't trust them anymore. I guess it's time to stop cheaping out and getting enterprise class drives for NAS use...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @12:59PM (#32732936)

    Now, since tape drives are out, the only sane offline backup option I have is DVD's. Dual layer discs are simply too expensive to use (and I've not had great luck with their reliability), so I'm limited to backing up my data 4.7GB at a time.

    Well, I use an external USB drive for offline backup. I only have it plugged in when I'm doing a backup and capacity isn't an issue. If I was even more concerned about my data, I'd use two; keep one offsite (parents) and rotate them periodically.

    A 3TB external drive would be a handy backup option for a 3TB RAID array.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @12:19AM (#32740444)

    Thank you - came to post this.

    Here's a cut and paste of an email I sent about 8 months ago about this issue.

    Some of the information has changed (about fedora and RHEL6), and obviously the fact that "no one manufactures a drive larger than 2TiB".

    Note: I was pretty careful to use TB and TiB when I meant TB and TiB; and to use physical / logical when I meant physical or logical, and to use partition / filesystem when I meant filesystem. Words mean things, and understanding why "the 2TB problem" is a problem is not difficult but it involves reading and understanding the concepts.

    Feel free to copy pasta this if you need it.


    Master Boot Record limitation.

    It's nothing to do with partition sizes or file systems or partition
    types or ext3.

    ANY system that uses an MBR (i.e. ALL RHEL, including Fedora 12, which
    is what RH6 is supposedly based on) will NOT boot off of a logical disk
    of 2TiB or more. I'm sure that goes for physical disks as well, but
    currently, no one makes a 2TiB disk (the 2TB disks out there for
    consumer use are slightly smaller than 2TiB).

    The reason for this is that the MBR contains the logical block
    addressing information for the logical disk on which it resides, and
    this is stored in a 32 bit integer. ANY computer that uses a logical
    disk that is >2TiB cannot use an MBR to boot* from that logical disk,
    because the MBR cannot address the whole disk. (*without a crowbar)

    So, before any information about the formatting or filesystem or any of
    that stuff is loaded, you turn the computer on, the bios takes over, and
    then seeks the MBR to go to the next boot step.


    Certain raid levels can create a logical disk of arbitrary size;
    however, raid1 and raid10 cannot create logical disks except along
    physical disk geometry. This was tried with PERC 6's. Raid5 will allow
    for logical disk sizes along arbitrary boundaries, IIRC.

    You may be able to use sfdisk to manually designate a partition table of
    a size which would truncate your usable space below 2TiB of logical
    disk, and sacrifice the end of the logical disk. But we couldn't get it
      to work.


    If you're going to *boot* off of a disk that is >2TiB, you *MUST* use GPT.
    There's an overview of GPT here: []
    Basically, it's an MBR replacement that is fully backwards compatible.
    It does NOT require EFI bios, although it was developed to work in
    conjunction with it.

    GPT, however, means using GRUB2. Redhat 5.x does NOT support grub2 (and
    thus, neither does current Anaconda). Redhat 6.x likely will not
    support grub2 by default, although Fedora 12 has grub2 in its repository
    with the standard **THIS IS NOT STABLE USE AT OWN RISK** disclaimers.

    Alternatively, you can move the MBR to a smaller logical disk. It would
    be easy to have another disk in the system that's of insignificant size,
    and put /boot and the MBR onto that disk, and have the (rest of the) OS
    on a logical disk that is multiple TiB. Finding a filesystem that
    supports these giant sizes is less easy - ext3 could only do it with
    bigger blocks - but systems such as reiser or XFS should be able to
    handle it.

    So, in order to do this, there are basically 3 options:

    1.) Hack anaconda to use grub2 and parted instead of fdisk.
    2.) move the MBR anywhere else - a 128mb USB key would work
    3.) (*this is the crowbar) - hex edit the MBR to stop at the 32 bit
    boundary and forego the space at the end of the drive above 1.999999 TiB.

    Anyway, just wanted to make sure that everyone had the benefit of our
    efforts. Most of you probably already knew this, but some might not have.

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