Two 4TB drives with 7,200rpm spindles go platter-to-platter
Hardcore PC performance fanatics are rarely satisfied. For example, when we were first given 1TB hard drives, we were excited, but wanted 2TB. Then we got 2TB and wanted 3TB, and so on, until we had a 4TB drive in the Lab. When that drive finally arrived, rather than rejoicing, we continued griping because the drive in question was a Hitachi 5K4000, which spins at a lowly 5,400rpm. The capacity was appreciated, but we wanted a drive with 4TB of capacity and a 7,200rpm spindle speed (we actually want a 4TB SSD, but that’s beside the point). Now the griping shall cease (for the most part), as we finally have 4TB 7,200rpm drives from Hitachi and WD. These fine specimens are the fastest and largest drives of their kind, so if you’re a data hoarder with a need for speed, one of these drives belongs in your rig.
Western Digital’s first 4TB SATA hard drive is the one to get if you have a lot of data (and money).
The Hitachi Ultrastar 7K4000 4TB made its first appearance in this magazine back in September 2012, when a gaggle of them debuted in the Dream Machine. At the time, they were the only 7,200rpm 4TB drives available, so they fit right in among all the other expensive and hard-to-find components. Now that the dust has settled and the 7K4000 has some company, we decided to put it on the test bench to see how it fares against its only rival in the 4TB category.
Note: This review first appeared in the Holiday 2012 issue of the magazine.
The WD RE 4TB drive is specifically meant to handle an enterprise workload, but don’t let that scare you off, as it includes a desktop-friendly SATA 6Gb/s interface. As long as you’re running Windows Vista or Windows 7, you should be able to format it into one partition somewhat easily, though you could use it as a boot drive if you’re insane. Its enterprise pedigree is evident not only in its RE branding but in its 1.2 million-hour MTBF, or mean time between failure. This means you should be using this drive at least until Apple Maps for iOS has caught up to Google Maps.
Note: This review appeared in the Holiday 2012 issue of the magazine.
How do I, at a reasonable cost, back up all of my data? Long ago, when hard drives were 40GB, 4.7GB DVDs were a reasonable means of backup. But now with multi-terabyte hard drives there doesn’t seem to be any reasonable backup method. Right now I’m using RAID 5 rather than backing up my data. I have a RAID with five 1TB drives in it and I’m relying on the redundancy as the backup. I looked into tape backup drives and found that the cheapest 800GB LTO-4 drive was $1,800 and the tapes run $50 each. As it turns out, I could build another system, put together a duplicate array and back up one to the other for less than the cost of the tape drive. Is there any such thing as affordable backup anymore? I can’t find anything. Blu-ray isn’t even affordable yet, and it’s already too small for backups.
Rambus, the company most known for its rampage of patent lawsuits on all things memory, may soon be better known for something else. The company announced a Terabyte Bandwidth Initiative last year, in which it set a goal of developing a future memory architecture capable of delivering a terabyte per second of memory bandwidth to a single System-on-Chip (SoC), and Rambus showed at IDF that it's getting ever closer to that goal.
On display was a DRAM emulator pushing 16Gbps, a key hurdle in making a terabyte of bandwidth possible. However, the test chips were only single channel, putting a slight damper on the display. Still, if Rambus can bring to fruition its new memory architecture, which it looks to be well on its way to doing, it could usher in a new era of high performance memory products.
Sun can lay claim as the first company to release a one terabyte tape drive with its StorageTek T10000B, but the company didn't have long to celebrate. Raining on their parade, IBM has released a one terabyte tape drive of its own, only this one runs 33 percent faster than Sun's.
The new IBM TS1130 tape drive can store up to one terabyte of uncompressed data per cartridge at 160MB/sec, or 40MB/sec faster than the T10000B, allowing the new model to complete backups up to 54 percent faster than the previous generation drive.
IBM describes the tape drives as being able to hold the text of one million books, and to keep that data from becoming corrupt, the TS1130 uses a special head overcoat technology IBM claims will lengthen the overall life expectancy of the drive. The TS1130 also utilizes a "Giant Magnetoresistive (GMR) head design that leverages IBM's world-record achievement of developing a more sensitive read-write head for the magnetic tape system." In other words, expect fewer data read errors.
The new drive uses existing 3592 rewritable and WORM (Write Once Read Many) cartridges, offering backwards compatibility with Gen 1, 2, and 3 formats supporting both read and write for Gen 2 and read only for Gen 1. And backwards compatibility is a good thing too, as IBM says the TS1130 will carry a starting price of $39,050, with an upgrade option from existing drives for a more manageable $19,500. Ouch.
Put a feather in Seagate's cap. The storage titan has sprinted to the finish line and scored an exclusive: the world's first 1.5-terabyte hard drive. The 7,200rpm drive uses a mere four platters to achieve its huge capacity point -- that's 375GB per platter of areal density. Beefy.
Seagate is claming a sustained data rate of 120MB/s for its drive, which might very well be enough to place this little guy above Samsung's 333GB-per-platter HD103UJ drive. Other than that, the bulging Barracuda seems similar to every other high-capacity drive on the market: expect a 3Gb/s SATA interface and a typical 32MB of cache. Check out the full release below!
Calling it the "Dawn of the Tera Era," Hitachi has announced its first three-platter terabyte drive. Billed as the Deskstar 7K1000.B, this is the second terabyte-class drive the company has produced since the launch of its first-to-the-market five-platter drive last year. But here's the weird part: the company has announced no concrete plans to phase out its second-generation drives before 2009. Nor is Hitachi coming in at a lower price point -- or comparable feature-set -- when compared to the other terabyte drives on the market today.
Check out our (confused) analysis after the jump! And yes, it appears Hitachi has modeled its "Tera Era" marketing after Hair:
While SSDs continue to come down in price and up in performance, hard disk drives keep ballooning in size. And just when we thought we were becoming spoiled with storage space, Hitachi hits us with a humdinger by announcing plans to release a 5TB hard drive by 2010. That's FIVE freaking terabytes in a single 3.5" drive, or half the storage capacity of the human brain, claims Dr. Yoshihiro Shiroishi from Hitachi. In more concrete terms, 5TB equates to about 5,000 hours of video, or more than a million songs. Throw two drives together and you could store a human brain's worth of porn!
Hitachi's pledge trumps an earlier prediction the company made back in October 2007 when it said 4TB of storage would be likely by 2011. Instead, Hitachi will employ Current-Perpendicular-to-Plant Giant Magnetoresistance (CPP-GMR) magnetic read heads to pack an additional terabyte than initially anticipated, and a year sooner than predicted. CPP-GMR will make it possible to achieve data densities of 1TB or more per square inch, paving the way for even larger hard drives.
Home theater buffs will undoubtedly herald Hitachi's announcement, but what about everyone else? Are we reaching the point of diminishing returns in terms of hard drive space? Post your thoughts in the comments section.