Remember when the hard drive industry tried to convince us they would never be able to pump out hard drives bigger than 100GB? Well according to Samsung the platter density war is still alive and well, and a new breakthrough has allowed them to hit 1TB per platter densities well ahead of schedule. What does this mean for us as enthusiasts? Lower cost high-speed 3TB drives, along with 4TB versions in the not too distant future.
See what this means for notebook drives after the jump.
We just got word from Intel that it has new Rapid Storage Technology (RST) drivers available for download, and there's a good reason why you might want to check them out. As we've been told, version 10.1 adds support for hard drives larger than 2TB in AHCI mode.
That's good news, though it isn't a cure-all for the so-called 2TB barrier. Even with the updated drivers, you'll still need a 64-bit OS and a motherboard sporting one of those fancy UEFI BIOSes that support booting to a GPT partition. Failing these requirements, you're still limited to using these drives as secondary storage.
Intel also said it's planning to add RAID mode support for these large capacity hard drives in a future release.
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 email@example.com for advice on how to solve your technological woes.
Sony has a history of en-forcing policy changes with harsh firmware updates, but the recently released 3.41 patch for the Playstation 3 appears to be having the unintended side effect of preventing users from upgrading their hard drives. We have applauded Sony in the past for allowing users to easily upgrade their storage by swapping out the stock 2.5” SATA disk, but hundreds of angry forum posters claim the “no applicable data” error has essentially bricked consoles that ran the update on a new drive.
Computer and Video Games claims the issue might have something to do with a new feature that allow for incremental patches, and would also explain why the problem only arises on PS3’s where the firmware is stored on the hard drive rather than the system memory. Sony has not offered any explanation or fixes yet, so we recommend not updating the drive on your PS3 until we know more.
Man, we are all about SandForce these days. The controller company burst out of stealth mode early this year, and proceeded to rock our socks with every drive that uses its SF-1200 firmware. The Corsair Force F100, like all drives of its ilk, relies on commodity NAND and the rock-solid SandForce SF-1200 controller, which eschews DRAM cache entirely in favor of not sucking. And though it doesn’t reach the unprecedented reads and writes offered by the OCZ Vertex 2 and its custom firmware, the Force F100 performs on par with the next best drives out there, which all happen to be SandForce-powered.
The JMicron JM602 controller, paired with insufficient cache, hobbled the first generation of consumer SSDs—once the cache filled, write speeds slowed to a crawl. Random-write latencies could get as bad as a fifth of a second (compared to .1ms for most modern SSDs), pulling average sustained writes down as low as 20MB/s in some cases. Manufacturers responded by adding more cache or by building future generations of drives on different controllers, such as the Barefoot Indilinx part. Since then, JMicron has been pretty quiet, but now Patriot’s Zephyr line has arrived, powered by JMicron’s new JMF612 SATA controller. Is this new effort enough to the put JMicron into our good graces?
For years, if you wanted the speediest consumer hard drive you could get your hands on, you went with a 10,000rpm Western Digital Raptor. Its first incarnation, released in 2003, was a 37GB single-platter drive using a PATA-to-SATA bridge. The next year brought a 74GB SATA 150 drive, and thereafter the drives roughly doubled in size (and went up a SATA spec) every couple of years. Last time WD refreshed the line, it bumped the capacity to 300GB, named the resulting 100MB/s-plus drive the VelociRaptor, and promptly won our Kick Ass award. But that was 2008—several hard drive generations ago. And though Western Digital’s latest VelociRaptor ups the ante with 600GB of space and a 6Gb/s SATA controller, the drive now has to compete with solid state drives and high-capacity, high-performance drives like WD’s own Caviar Black series.
Make no mistake: The new VelociRaptor, with its 32MB of cache and 6Gb/s transfer rates, is the fastest mechanical SATA drive we’ve ever tested. With average sustained read and write speeds greater than 130MB/s, it’s fully a third faster than the last-gen VelociRaptor, which averaged around 100MB/s for both. Random-access times hit around 7.1ms—about the same as the last-gen VelociRaptor, and about twice the speed of a fast 7,200rpm drive.
A word to the wise, that innocuous looking copier in the corner of the office might be out to share your personal data with an unscrupulous lot. The good news is that the FTC has your back. Data security when it comes to digital copiers is a blind spot, even in many IT departments. FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz made it clear in a recent letter that the agency was looking into the problem, and was starting an educational campaign to inform users of the danger.
These machines have hard drives that store the images scanned into them. If not properly secured, anyone can log in and retrieve the documents. The letter was sent to US Representative Markey in the wake of a CBS investigation that found used copiers often have personal data on the hard drives.
Have you made any copies at work you now wish you hadn't? Let us (and the IT department) know if you can access the data on your office copiers.
It's been rumored for a while, but Seagate has now confirmed they will be releasing a 3TB hard drive later this year. This isn't just the usual upping of platter density to achieve a higher capacity. In this case Seagate had to overcome some fundamental problems in computing.
In modern computing systems, there is a logical block addressing (LBA) limit of 2.1TB. The LBA system can't address a capacity larger than that due to the fact that it assigns an address to each 512 byte block on the hard drive, causing it to run out of address space at 2.1TB. Seagate is using a new Long LBA format, but it requires a supporting OS.
According to Seagate, 64-bit versions of Windows Vista and 7 will work, but XP will not. In fact, XP systems may only see 990MB of the drive. Another caveat is that these drives will not work as boot drives, just as secondary drives. Current master boot record partitions are limited to 2.1TB, and the fix would be more complicated.
No one thought that LBA would be a limiting factor when it was developed in 1980, but here we are. No pricing information was available, but we imagine it will sell at a premium at first. Would you buy a 3TB drive? Or are a few smaller ones fine by you?