ED#121 : Western Digital Ships 2.5 TB & 3 TB Hard Disk Drives!
Western Digital launched the industry's first 2 TB hard disk drive back in January of 2009, the 2 TB WD Caviar Green. This was followed up by the Hitachi 7K2000 in August 2009 - the first 2 TB hard disk drive with a spindle speed of 7,200 RPM. Unfortunately, there has been no further progress since then.
It was not for a lack of trying though. Every hard disk drive manufacturer in the world has to deal with the problem of the 2.1 TB capacity limit, which was brought about by the LBA addressing limit in 32-bit operating systems. This problem can be solved by switching to 48-bits Long LBA, but this will only work with newer 64-bit operating systems. There was also the issue of updating the GUID Partition Table (GPT) to support Master Boot Record partitions that are larger than 2.1 TB.
The good news is that they are close to a solution. Western Digital laid the groundwork by shipping the first Advanced Format hard disk drives which feature a much larger 4 KB physical sector. The larger sector does not only make more efficient use of available platter space (improving storage capacity by 7-11%), it will also help circumvent the LBA addressing limit. For more information on Advanced Format and its effect on performance, please take a look at The Western Digital Advanced Format Performance Comparison Guide.
Therefore, it was no surprise when Seagate announced that they would ship their 3 TB hard disk drive by the end of this year. Western Digital has yet to announce anything - they have a policy of not announcing products until the actual launch date. However, we have just confirmed that Western Digital will be launching their 3 TB hard disk drives in mid-October. The exact date has not been determined but it will happen in the next 2-3 weeks.
Our source says all three main models (Caviar Black, Caviar Blue and Caviar Green) will be upgraded to 3 TB. In addition, Western Digital will also upgrade their external drives to 3 TB. Eventually, Western Digital will offer 3 TB versions of media players like the newly-launched WD Elements Play and the future WD TV Live Hub.
The new Western Digital 3 TB hard disk drives will be available for sale at launch, or very soon thereafter. For certain, they will be available in quantity this Christmas season. Western Digital's timing is impeccable. Unless Seagate beats them to the punch, Western Digital is set to be the first to launch and ship 3 TB hard disk drives.
We will update this article with more details, as and when we receive them. So check back often!
Update @ 20/10/2010 : We have a couple of updates for you :
Western Digital will ship 2.5 TB hard disk drives, as well as the 3 TB hard disk drives we told you about earlier.
The first drives to be released will be the Western Digital Caviar Green 2.5 TB (WD25EZRSDTL) and the Western Digital Caviar Green 3 TB (WD30EZRSDTL). They have a launch price of US$ 190 and US$ 240 respectively.
Both 2.5 TB and 3 TB Caviar Green drives will have a 64 MB cache and use four 750 GB platters. The only difference is the 2.5 TB drive will have 7 read/write heads while the 3 TB drive will have 8 read/write heads.
Although Western Digital is extremely secretive about the actual spindle speed of their Caviar Green hard disk drives, these two models are said to spin at around 6,000 RPM.
Every Western Digital 2.5 TB and 3 TB hard disk drive will ship with a AHCI-compliant PCI Express-based SATA controller card.
When used with the proper driver, the PCI Express SATA controller card will allow you to make use of the 2.5 TB and 3 TB hard disk drives as secondary drives.
You will only be able to use them as boot drives with 64-bit versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7 if your motherboard supports UEFI. They will also boot on Mac OS 10.5 Leopard (or better) and Linux.
The 2.5 TB and 3 TB hard disk drives will need to be formatted using GPT (GUID Partition Table), so only operating systems that support GPT (e.g. Windows Vista, Windows 7) will be able to support the new hard disk drives. Windows XP only supports MBR, so it won't be able to support the new drives.
Like all current Caviar Green hard disk drives, these two new models will come with a 3-year warranty.
These 2.5 TB and 3 TB drives start shipping TODAY!
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Questions & Comments
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Added new details on the Western Digital Caviar Green 2.5 TB and 3 TB hard disk drives.
Corrected the mistake on boot drive support.