hard drives

Mar 20 2012

News - Seagate Demonstrates 1 Terabit per Square Inch Hard Drive Technology

March seems to be turning into the month for hard drive technology announcements. Last year, Samsung was showing off the first 4TB hard drives. This year, Seagate is showing off the technology that they expect to take hard drives up as high as 60TB. That technology is Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR), a system that uses lasers to flip the bits on a hard drive and is poised to replace Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR), the technology behind current hard drives. For PMR, 1Tb per square inch is the theoretical limit which would leave hard drives topping out at about 6TB. For HAMR, 1Tb per square inch should be just the beginning with headroom for 5-10 times greater areal density in the future. Seagate's tech demo may not have come with any timelines, but Seagate and the other hard drive manufacturers working on HAMR were shooting for 2015 at Diskcon last year, with 2013 maybe being eyed for lower areal density drives to test deployments. I know most of us will be pretty wary of those early drives, but it is exciting to think that expanding hard drive capacities might become a more frequent part of the news cycle once again and give me an excuse to free up some drive bays in the home server.


The press release provides few details on the specifics of the implementation, but HAMR is something Seagate has been working on since at least 2006. Although there's no timeline for when the technology will be ready for mass consumption, the perpendicular recording technology currently used by hard drive makers is expected to run out of steam near the 1Tb/in² threshold.

Tech Report

Jan 31 2012

News - Hitachi Takes 4TB Hard Drives to 7200rpm

Hitachi 4TBHitachi was the first hard drive manufacturer to ship internal 4TB hard drives, but those early drives were also 5400rpm drives. While this no doubt suits the needs of most folks building home servers and general purpose media servers, it did leave more performance-oriented enthusiasts feeling a bit underwhelmed. Fortunately, Hitachi is mindful of that segment of the market's need for speed and has started shipping 7200rpm 4TB hard drives. Unfortunately, said drives are seemingly only available in Japan at this point, though I would assume that will change before too long. I was not surprised to hear that Hitachi is being conservative and sticking to their 5-platter design. We will almost certainly see another 5400rpm 4TB offering using 1TB platters before we see a 7200rpm offering do the same.

The latest Hitachi Deskstar 7K4000 drive (HDS724040ALE640) boasts 4TB capacity and uses five previous-generation 800GB platters with 446Gb/square inch areal density, Serial ATA-600 interface, 64MB cache as well as 7200rpm spindle speed. The new hard disk drives use advanced 4K format.

X-bit Labs

Jan 23 2012

News - Western Digital Working to Restore Pre-Flood Manufacturing Output by September

Western Digital Hard DriveThe floods in Thailand last year displaced over 12 million people and left large swathes of the country underwater, including factories that produced a large percentage of the world's hard drives and hard drive components. Western Digital, the hard drive manufacturer most affected by the flooding, has been working to restore production and between their reconstruction efforts in Thailand and new factories coming online in Malaysia, Western Digital expects to restore production to pre-flood levels by September. A number of major tech companies, including Intel and Microsoft, have pinned the blame for recent weakness in the PC market on hard drive shortages caused by the flooding. Certainly, anyone looking to add storage to their HTPC or home server has seen the effect of the shortages on hard drive prices.

Western Digital expects to rebuild its production capacities to pre-flood levels by September, 2012, the company said this week. The manufacturer aims to repair its two factories in Thailand and bring back its output to normal levels in several months from now. Until then, shortages of hard drives will likely persist.

X-bit Labs

Dec 24 2011

News - Seagate Barracuda 3TB Reviewed

Seagate BarracudaWhen Seagate launched their new 1TB-per-platter hard drives back in early November, Seagate also announced that they were doing away with the sub-7200 rpm Barracuda Green hard drive line. Their point at the time was that their high areal density drives could achieve comparable noise levels and power consumption levels even while running at 7200 rpm, negating the need for the Barracuda Green line. It might be hard to justify the price of a 3TB hard drive until the hard drive shortage eases, but it sounds like Seagate's new drives do deliver the goods. Given that these new drives appear to perform particularly well with large files, I certainly like the idea of adding 7200 rpm hard drives to my server without sacrificing more than a couple of decibels.

The Seagate Barracuda 3TB hard drive beat out all 7200 RPM models in our overall performance index, topped only by the 10,000 RPM WD VelociRaptor 600GB. It excelled mainly in the file copy and application sections, particularly in tests that dealt with larger files making it ideal for transferring bulk data like high definition video, image files, etc. 

Silent PC Review

Dec 21 2011

News - Seagate Completes Purchase of Samsung's Hard Drive Business

Most of us were pretty quick to blame the recent round of hard drive warranty cuts on the flooding in Thailand, but we can probably blame reduced competition for future negative trends in the hard drive industry. Seagate has officially completed the purchase of Samsung's hard drive business that they began back in April. The Samsung name will not disappear immediately and we can expect to see Samsung exert some influence with their newfound stake in Seagate to push for more hybrid hard drives and increased R&D into SSDs. Unfortunately, we can also expect Western Digital to complete their purchase of Hitachi's hard drive business soon, and then we'll be left with just two major desktop hard drive manufacturers. At least when Seagate bought Maxtor in 2006, there was still hope that Hitachi could rehabilitate the Deskstar brand and that Samsung's growing market presence would prevent a duopoly in the hard drive industry.

Seagate and Sumsung

Seagate will get a cadre of Samsung managers and employees, and Samsung solid-stage storage for its hybrid drives, too. Meanwhile, Samsung gets a 9.6 percent ownership stake in Seagate, a good bit of cash, and supplies of Seagate hard drives for its computers. 

The Verge

Dec 19 2011

News - Hard drive manufacturers slash warranty periods

If you're considering a hard-drive purchase in the next 6 months, here's a pretty compelling reason to buy before the end of the year.

I must confess, this smells a little bit like anti-trust behavior to me.   As a consumer, are you going to stop buying Seagate and WD drives based upon their warranty?   I suspect they realized that price is the #1 driver of HD purchase decisions and this will allow them to undercut the second tier competitors at least until they follow suit.

It also reminds me of what happen to the Airlines.   People demanded the lowest fare, hence the quality of service continued to drop to match customer demands.   Perhaps the market is just getting what it's asking for.

Seagate's warranties on certain drives will be reduced as of Dec. 31, and WD will follow beginning Jan. 2. All drives shipped prior to those dates will continue to carry the current warranty term associated with the products.

Computer World


Dec 14 2011

News - Seagate Momentus XT 750GB Hybrid Hard Drive Reviewed

Seagate Momentus XT 750GBThe recent hard drive supply constraints caused by flooding in Thailand have focused attention on a market that had been somewhat overshadowed by much sexier SSDs. SSDs are faster and quieter than hard drives and have come down in price to the point that many computer enthusiasts consider an SSD to be a must-have upgrade. However, one place you will not likely see us recommending SSDs is in a single drive HTPC that is serving DVR duties. If you are interested in capturing some of the performance of an SSD without sacrificing the storage capacity and longevity of a hard drive, then a hybrid drive might be worth considering. Seagate's 500GB Momentus XT drive has been one of the perhaps the most high profile hybrid drive to date and now Seagate is back with their second generation Momentus XT drive in a new 750GB model. The new drive doubles the amount of NAND memory and adjusts the caching to only store read data which should increase longevity in a DVR scenario versus an SSD and most other hybrid drives. Whether the performance benefits are worth the hefty price tag is a whole other issue.

With the second generation Momentus XT we have a hybrid hard drive that has the ability to outperform its predecessor, without really seeing the huge upgrade necessary to fully negate the need for an SSD. To quantify the performance improvement over the previous generation as well as its place in the HDD-SSD continuum, we turn to a mix of application based, trace based and synthetic benchmarks.


Dec 13 2011

News - Hitachi Joins the 4TB Fray

Hitachi has announced the release of the Deskstar 5K4000, Hitachi's first 4TB hard drive. It's a 5400 rpm hard drive, but it isn't going to show the performance boost that early 2TB and 3TB drives exhibited as it lacks the areal density we have come to associate with the multi-TB barrier breaking drives. The 5K4000 may not break any performance records, but, clocking in at $400 for the internal model or $420 for the external model, it will require you to break the piggy bank wide open. The fact that is expected to be available in an internal model is a step in the right direction, though. As far as I am aware, Hitachi will be the only hard drive manufacturer shipping internal 4TB hard drives. Seagate's 4TB is only available as a USB 3.0 external drive, albeit at about $100 less than Hitachi is expecting the 5K4000 to fetch. Anyone ready to swap out the drives in their RAID server?

Add Hitachi to the list of hard drive makers offering 4TB drives. A few days after the Deskstar 5K4000 appeared in Japan's Akihabara district, Hitachi has made the product official. The press release isn't exactly overflowing with details about the new model's technical specifications, but a little digging on Hitachi's website reveals just about everything we need to know about the 5K4000.

Tech Report

Dec 06 2011

News - Western Digital Working to Bring Thailand Factories Back Online

Western Digital recently announced that they are ahead of schedule on restoring production to their factories in Thailand damaged by the recent flooding there. Western Digital's Thailand factories are responsible for about 60% of the company's products and the damage done, as well as the damage done to the factories of the other hard drive component manufacturers in the region, have had a major impact on hard drive supplies around the world. Fortunately for Western Digital, the hard drive shortages have not had a negative effect on Western Digital's bottom line as they also announced that they expect quarterly revenue of about $1.8 billion versus the $1.05-$1.25 billion they had projected. Western Digital's rapid progress is good news, particularly for the folks in Thailand affected by the floods, so hopefully things continue to progress well. Any bets that hard drive prices don't fall as fast they have risen when the rest of the factories are restored?

"Much work remains to be done, but we couldn't be more pleased with the effort and results thus far, including tremendous support from our supply partners and customers," said Western Digital CEO John Coyne.


Nov 02 2011

News - Seagate 3TB Barracuda (1TB Platters) Review Roundup

Building on the announcement about the latest line of Barracuda's from yesterday, I managed to find a few reviews of the 3TB model.  Everyone seems pretty impressed with this 3 platter monster's performance.  However, it's currently being advertised at nearly $300, so I think most people around here (myself included) will be waiting for the price to drop a little.  One very nice thing pointed out in the reviews is that this drive comes with a FIVE year warranty.  I am quite anxious to start replacing my 1TB drives, but not at anywhere near that price point!

Here are some reviews of the drive:


Benchmark Reviews

Storage Review

Hardware Canucks

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