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Data Storage Hardware

3TB Hard Drives Square Off Against Everything Else 160

crookedvulture writes "Last week, Western Digital announced its intention to buy rival drive maker Hitachi. Interestingly, those are the only two companies with 3TB hard drives available for sale. The Tech Report takes a closer look at how the two models compare with each other and over 30 different hard drives and SSDs. The resulting data paints a detailed picture of the storage landscape and is worth skimming for anyone curious about how spindle speeds and flash memory impact performance, power consumption, and noise."
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3TB Hard Drives Square Off Against Everything Else

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  • by FlapHappy ( 937803 ) on Monday March 14, 2011 @08:37PM (#35486494) Journal
    ...I forget what is on it all the time. Sometimes I wander across some forgotten directory and it is like discovering a secret treasure trove, but usually it is junk. I'm not prepared to say "We'll never need more than 3TBs of hard drive space," but aside from cyber-hoarders, porn addicts, and legitimate business uses, the supply of hard disk space has clearly exceeded the demand.
  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Monday March 14, 2011 @08:44PM (#35486534)

    Starting putting all your movies on the drive and you will soon find out how wrong you are. This just means we might be able to stop compressing the hell out of them when we rip them.

  • Re:FTFY (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Hal_Porter ( 817932 ) on Monday March 14, 2011 @10:35PM (#35487312)

    Actually USB mass storage can support >512 byte sectors easily

    E.g. []

    This actually presents a 4096 byte physical sector size to the OS. Handily this means that MBR partitioning will still work with it - that has a limit of 2^32 sectors but with a 4K sector size that is 16TB..

    Windows is fine with >512 byte sectors at least post boot but I don't think it's possible to use them over ATA on any current OS. I.e. there are Advanced Format drives with 4K sectors but currently they all emulate 512 byte sectors over ATA. Probably moving to 4K native sector size on ATA is going to take some time since that requires changes to the ATA spec, drives, Bios and OS boot code.

    Since the USB mass storage driver has supported >512 byte sectors for ages because CDs and DVD Roms have 2K byte sectors it's actually easier to get >2TB drives working over USB.

    The reason I know about this stuff? I wrote this free tool []

    It so happens that it works fine with the 3tb Goflex USB drive because it has a 4K physical sector size. FAT32 has the same limit 2^32 sector limit as MBR.

    So you can have 16TB FAT32 volumes to share your AVI files between your PC, Mac, Linux box and games console/media player. 16TB is a lot of movies, maybe even all of them.

    Now some might say that it's insane to use such an old format. That's sort of true but FAT32 is good because it's so widely implemented. It's hard to imagine anything else being supported across such a wide range of devices. Also if all you're doing is streaming AVI files FAT32 is actually good enough - because it is so simple it is trivial to implement it and get stability and performance very close to the raw performance of the device. More modern file systems are not like that.

  • by dargaud ( 518470 ) <> on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @04:02AM (#35488780) Homepage
    Is it just an impression, or has hard drive technology hit some kind of ceiling. Those two 3TB drives have been available for over a year and there's no other identical or bigger model on the horizon. It used to be that you had a 50% increase every 6 months On the one hand I have a hunch that all the 5Tb pre-series and 10Tb prototypes are going to Google data warehouses, on the other hand I think that research budgets now go to SSDs. So what gives ?
  • by nzac ( 1822298 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @04:19AM (#35488868)

    I would say that though they will approach a limit they stalled at 2Tb due to the 2 TB limitation of the msdos pt/BIOS (after 2TB it loops back and overwrites other).
    When windows finally includes comprehensive GPT support i would think that the demand for larger hard drives would increase so they will attempt to carry on the increase.

If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.