While SSDs still cost several hundred pounds for a few gigabytes, the hard drive industry is marching ahead in terms of capacity. The ageing mechanical technology has already given us 2TB units, but according to the grapevine Seagate plans to up this to 3TB this year.
Our friends at The Register claim to have spoken to people close to the company, who say that Seagate has a 3TB Constellation ES drive in the works. According to the sources, the enterprise-class drive will have a 6Gb/sec serial-attached-SCSI (SAS) interface).
However, Seagate’s current Constellation ES line-up is available with a choice of either a SAS or a standard 3Gb/sec interface, and we’d be surprised if Seagate didn’t make a 3TB SATA drive available too.
Seagate’s Constellation ES drives currently spin at 7,200rpm, and come equipped with 16MB of cache. The company claims that they have a sustained data transfer rate of 150Mb/sec. Basically, you could happily use one of these drives in a desktop PC, rather than a server, if you really wanted the extra storage capacity.
If the rumour is true, then Seagate must have made further developments in areal density. Even using four platters, a 3TB drive would need each platter to have 750GB on each platter. Current 2TB drives spread the capacity over four 500GB Platters, so a 3TB drive would represent a serious jump in areal density.
If Seagate has indeed managed to create a 750GB Platter, then we’d be surprised if the technology didn’t soon filter down into consumer hard drives, where increasingly large capacities are still demanded for backup devices and media centre PCs.
We’ve asked Seagate whether it can confirm any of the rumours, and we’ll update you if and when we receive any more information.