Seagate Launches First 1.5TB Desktop Drive

Seagate's 1.5TB drive and 500GB notebook drive come only one year after Seagate introduced the first 1TB drive. No limits appear in sight as capacities keep going through the roof.

There seems to be no limit in sight as to raw capacity on disk drives, although science would seem to indicate otherwise.
Only about a year after introducing 1TB desktop drives, Seagate Technology on July 10 unveiled the industry's first 1.5TB desktop drive along with a 500GB (half-terabyte) notebook hard drive.
The debut of the Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB hard drive, the 11th generation of Seagate's flagship drive for desktop PCs, marks the single largest hard drive capacity jump in the more than half-century history of hard drives-a half-terabyte increase from the previous highest capacity of 1TB, thanks to the capacity-boosting power of PMR (perpendicular magnetic recording) technology.
The Barracuda 7200.11 hard drive combines PMR, components and expert manufacturing to provide storage for mainstream desktop computers, workstations, desktop RAID, gaming and high-end PCs, and USB/FireWire/eSATA external storage.
Seagate's new 2.5-inch half-terabyte 5400- and 7200-rpm drives, the Momentus 5400.6 and Momentus 7200.4, are designed for use in mainstream and high-performance notebook computers, external storage solutions, PCs and industrial applications requiring a small form factor.
Seagate expects to ship its 2 billionth hard drive within the next four years. In 2007, the company shipped its 1 billionth hard drive since its inception 30 years ago.
Thanks to new levels of competition in the market sector, storage devices continue to get smaller in footprint and less expensive, while offering increased capacity and more desirable features, such as auto-backup and encryption.
Seagate, IBM and Hitachi all have been highlighting their work in improving areal density, or the number of bits of data that can be recorded onto the surface of a disk or platter using PMR.
PMR is a newly implemented technology for data recording on hard disks that was first demonstrated in Japan in 1976. The technique is believed to be capable of delivering up to 10 times the storage density of conventional longitudinal recording-on the same media.
There were some attempts to use PMR in floppy disks in the 1980s, but it was not reliable enough. Today there is renewed interest in using it in HDDs, which are quickly reaching their space limits.
"The need for high-capacity storage in enterprise networks and home entertainment centers is almost insatiable," said John Monroe, a research vice president at Gartner. "Historians may consider the shipment of 1TB drives as a watershed event for the industry, but users will consider such devices commonplace. We believe 1TB [and larger] drives will become standard equipment in, on or near virtually every television set in the world as well as in a variety of multiuser environments."
Seagate, citing major research and development strides in improving areal density of hard drive disks, claimed in Sept. 2006 that it had set a data storage world record of 421G bits per square inch as part of a magnetic recording demonstration.
A hard drive with that kind of areal capacity could carry as much as a 2.5TB of data-enough to store 41,650 hours (1,735 days or 4.75 years) of music, 800,000 digital photographs, 4,000 hours of digital video or 1,250 video games. Seagate spokesperson David Szabados said hard drives at these density levels probably won't be available until 2009, but added that the need will be there because disk-drive capacity is growing rapidly.
Shipments of the Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB are set to begin in August. Momentus 5400.6 and 7200.4 hard drives are to begin shipping in the fourth quarter of 2008. Pricing information was not available at press time.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...