Western Digital Launches 3TB HDD, Largest Internal Drive on Market

Western Digital's WD Caviar Green is available as both 2.4TB and 3TB internal SATA drives for current-generation desktop and server hardware.

Western Digital has unveiled what it claims is the largest capacity internal SATA hard disk drive on the market.

As part of the WD Caviar Green family, the disk drive will ship in 3TB and 2.5TB sizes, the company said. The WD Caviar Green 2.5TB and 3TB hard drives will be used primarily for use as secondary internal storage, although it can be used as external storage, as well. It can also be installed in 64-bit based systems.

This will be the largest single internal hard disk drive on the market. Seagate Technology unveiled a 3TB external hard drive earlier this year.

Industry watchers have worried about the impact on the HDD business as companies shift away from the trusty magnetic disk drives toward faster and more rugged flash-based alternatives. The immense popularity of mobile devices and tablets has also impacted PC and laptop sales.

"We remain concerned that consequent to the 'tablet invasion,' the PC segment is likely to stay weak for all HDD vendors in the historically stronger second half of this calendar year," ThinkEquity analyst Rajesh Ghai wrote in a research note recently.

Both versions of the Caviar Green drive will include 64 MB of cache and features SATA 3.0 Gb/s connectivity. The higher capacity comes about as a result of WD increasing the areal density to 750GB per platter, the company said in a statement. The drive also uses Advanced Format technology, which writes 4,096 bytes per data sector.

There are several multi-terabyte storage options currently available, usually by stringing at least two drives together in a RAID array. What makes this single internal drive notable is the sheer size of its available storage.

Hard disk drives have been kept at 2.19TB or smaller because of several hardware, firmware, and software support issues, according to Western Digital. To overcome these barriers, Western Digital is using the latest industry standards and specifications, which result in some restrictions on how the drive can be used. For example, the Caviar Green drive would be supported only 64-bit versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Motherboards will need to be relatively new, with Unified Extensible Firmware Interface support to properly detect the drive and its total available storage. However, for older non-UEFI machines, Western Digital will bundle the Caviar Green 2.5 and 3TB hard drives with an Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI)-compliant Host Bus Adapter (HBA) so that the operating system will be able to use known drivers to properly support the drive.

"Customers will be able to take advantage of this breakthrough capacity point now for secondary external storage in legacy 32-bit systems that run on Microsoft Vista or Windows 7 platforms," said Jim Morris, executive vice president and general manager of WD's client systems storage group.

WD Caviar Green drives are considered eco-friendly, with less power consumption thanks to lower operating temperatures, decreased acoustical noise for make the PC much quieter, and improved performance.

"With our WD Caviar Green drives, we enable energy-conscious customers to build systems with the highest capacities that deliver the optimal balance of system performance, ensured reliability and energy conservation," said Morris.

The WD Caviar Green 2.5TB and 3TB hard drives are currently available in the United States. The suggested retail price for the 2.5TB $189 and the 3TB hard drive is $239.