I have been putting off building a home file server for more than two years now. I have been patiently waiting for the 2TB SATA hard drives to be surpassed by 2.5TB SATA drives, in the hopes that prices for 2TB hard drives go down to $80 per unit. Needless to say, my patience is running short. It has been more than two years now and hard drive manufacturers seem to have stalled at a 2TB capacity limit for all SATA hard drives.
What do you think is causing the stall in hard drive capacity growth? Is it this bad economy? Is it due to Windows XP’s inability to read from hard drives that exceed 2TB? I would really appreciate it if you can provide any insights on when you think this long-standing 2TB capacity limit will be broken with the introduction of 2.5TB hard drives.
Read the Doctor's advice for Ivan after the jump.
SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION Are flames shooting out of the back of your rig? First, grab a fire extinguisher and douse the flames. Once the pyrotechnic display has fizzled, email the doctor at firstname.lastname@example.org for advice on how to solve your technological woes.
Look for Samsung to soon begin shipping the EcoGreen F4EG, a 2TB 3.5-inch hard drive the company claims is the world's highest density HDD, and environmentally friendly to boot.
"Storage-hungry multimedia professionals, gamers, and home PC users continue to increase the amount of video, music, photo, and other personal data they store and back-up," said I.C. Park, vice president, Storage Sales, Semiconductor Business, Samsung Electronics. "The F4EG delivers all the benefits of a low-power drive yet features top performance quality and is environmentally friendly."
In order to claim the density crown, Samsung packed 667GB of storage space onto three platters. Combined with "advanced technology," Samsung says the F4EG is 19 percent better in standby time performance, and boasts a 23 percent lower power consumption in standby compared to the previous four-disk F3EG model.
Other features include SATA 3.0Gbps, NCQ, and a 32MB buffer. The F4EG will ship in September for $120.
If you don’t need a lot of storage, Seagate’s diminutive BlackArmor NAS 220 can be tucked into a bookshelf or the even the corner of your desk where it will quietly serve the needs of a small office or workgroup with as many as 20 PCs. The NAS 220 has two drive bays and can purchased with either one or two terabytes of capacity; we reviewed the 2TB model, which is street-priced at $279. Note that since the drives come from the factory in a mirrored configuration (RAID 1), usable capacity is actually 1TB.
The NAS 220 is housed in a steel enclosure painted gloss black (keep a feather duster at hand if you’re the fastidious type). Remove three very small Phillips screws and pull off the three-sided cover to access the 7,200RPM drives, which are user-replaceable, but not hot-swappable. Unlike Western Digital’s WD ShareSpace, you’re not limited to using Seagate drives. But since the NAS 220 doesn’t support online RAID expansion or migration, most people will never access the drives unless they fail.
Finishing our look inside the box, we see Marvell’s 800MHz 88F6192 system-on-chip on the motherboard, paired with 128MB of soldered-on DDR2 SDRAM. The chip integrates a two-port SATA controller, a two-port USB controller, and a Gigabit Ethernet controller. This processor handles most of the compute workload, including running the RAID software. As mentioned earlier, the NAS 200 comes from the factory in a RAID 1 configuration, but the system also supports RAID 0 and JBOD.
It’s been a long time since we reviewed a USB external drive—not since November 2008, to be exact—mostly because they’re essentially commodities now. With transfers capped at USB 2.0 speeds and drive sizes mostly standardized, portable hard drives have had few features by which to distinguish themselves from their peers—the usefulness of included software, eSATA support, and full-disk encryption among them. On the eve of USB 3.0 drives, the Western Digital My Book Elite 2TB seems to be the state of the USB 2.0 drive art, with a custom e-ink display. But is it more than a gimmick?
The My Book Elite shares the vaguely book-like formfactor of the My Book World and Essential lineups, but along its “spine” is the e-ink display, which shows a custom 12-character drive label, a capacity meter, and a little lock icon if you’ve enabled disk encryption. Despite its limited usefulness, we dig it—mostly because we geek out over any applications with e-ink.
We've covered Asus' Eee PC T101MT a couple of times already, but we may have underestimated the the SDXC slot. Most reports (including ours) had the slot topping out at 32GB, but according to the latest tech chatter, the T101MT will come capable of reading 2TB SDXC cards.
So what exactly is SDXC? Short for Secure Digital eXtended Capacity, this new format was announced during CES one year ago. SDXC uses Microsoft's exFAT file system and boasts read/write speeds of 104MB/s with a roadmap to 300MB/s. According to the SD Association, a 2TB SDXC memory card (which is so far non-existent) can store 100 HD movies, 480 hours of HD recording, or 136,000 fine-grade photos.
Who knows how much a 2TB SDXC card would cost (a lot), but every indication is that the T101MT will be ready.
There's something green in the air this week, what with NEC announcing its carbon footprint conscious AS171 monitor, and Samsung introducing a new line of eco-friendly hard drives, the F3EG.
Sound familiar? That's because the EcoGreen F3EG series replaces the F2EG line, and with it bumps up the flagship model to a 2TB capacity consisting of four 500GB platters. By Samsung's math, that equates to 880 hours of DVD videor or 500,000 (or more) songs in MP3 format.
"Storage-hungry multimedia professionals, gamers, and home PC users contnue to increase the amount of video, music, photo, and other personal data they store and back-up," said In Cheol Park, vice president, Storage Sales, Samsung Electronics. "The F3EG delivers all the benefits of a low-power drive yet features high performance and is environmentally friendly."
Also in the eco-friendly F3EG mix is a 1.5TB model, and along with the 2TB drive, both boast Samsung's EcoTriangleTM technology comprised of low-power, low-noise components, and no halogen content.
When Seagate told us it would be shipping the first 6Gb/s SATA hard drive, we were a little surprised. And when we found out it wasn’t going to be a solid state drive, but a 7,200rpm Barracuda drive, our skepticism increased. Sure, we’d been waiting a long time for Seagate’s 2TB 7,200rpm drive, and it’s nice to see the SATA 6Gb/s spec ship on a real-world product, but putting a 6Gb/s controller on a mechanical hard drive is like putting a Formula 1 airfoil on a golf cart. The vehicle just ain’t ever going to go fast enough to warrant the accessory.
In order to test the Barracuda XT on a level playing field, we built a new rig: a 2.66GHz Core i5-750 and 4GB of DDR3 RAM on an Asus P7P55D-Premium motherboard, which has an onboard Marvell SATA 6Gb/s controller as well as an Intel 3Gb/s SATA controller. The rig runs Windows XP SP3 and 64-bit Vista Home Premium from a 300GB WD Raptor. We tested both the Barracuda and its closest competitor, the 2TB WD Caviar Black, on both the Marvell and Intel controllers.
After months of making do with 5,400rpm and 5,900rpm 2TB drives and odd-bird 1.5TB drives, it’s finally happening: 7,200rpm two-terabyte hard drives are coming to rigs near you. First out of the gate and into our greedy arms is Western Digital’s 2TB Caviar Black, the performance cousin to the 2TB Caviar Green we reviewed in May. And brother, it’s just what we’ve been waiting for.
The 2TB Caviar Black is spec’d to impress, with four 500GB platters, two processors, 64MB of cache, and a dual-stage actuator system that puts a fine-tuned piezoelectric actuator head at the end of the standard magnetic actuator, enabling fine-tuned tracking for speedy seek times. The Caviar Black also comes with WD’s standard No-Touch ramp loader, so the read/write head never comes in contact with the platters, increasing the drive’s lifespan.
Western Digital today starting shipping its new desktop 7200 RPM 2TB hard drive to OEMs and becomes the second manufacturer to offer the high spindle speed and capacity combination (Hitachi being the first).
As part of the WD Caviar Black series, the 2TB model is based on the company's 500GB-per-platter technology. Other features include a heaping 64MB of cache, dual stage actuator technology, SATA 3Gb/s, an integrated dual processor, and NoTouch ramp load technology, which ensures the recording head never touches the disk media and, according to WD, results in significantly less wear and tear on the drive.
Western Digital's speedy 2TB drive is available now with an MSRP of $299.
Hitachi can't lay claim as the first manufacturer to develop a 2TB hard drive -- that distinction belongs to Western Digital -- but it is the first one to do so with a 7200RPM spindle speed, besting the spindle speeds found on 2TB drives from both WD and Seagate.
"The new Deskstar 7K2000 reflects our ongoing commitment to provide customer, channel partners, and OEMs with proven, reliable solutions for enabling desktop computers, gaming systems, workstations, and desktop RAID arrays," said Brendan Collins, vice president of marketing, Hitachi GST.
Hitachi's fourth generation Deskstar crams 2TB onto a five-platter design "with relaxed bit density" and perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) technology. As would be expected in a modern, high performance drive, the 7K2000 boasts 32MB of cache and a 3Gb/s SATA interface.