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Seagate hits areal density high with 1TB platters

Seagate has mometarily lept ahead in the race for ever-larger storage devices, creating a hard drive capable of storing 1TB per platter, for a total of 3TB in a standard-size 3.5-inch drive.

The new high-capacity 1TB platters, which represent a market-leading areal density of 625GB/inch², will make their first appearance in a GoFlex Desk external drive holding a total of 3TB. This is to be followed later in the year by a 3.5-inch desktop drive in the company's Barracuda range.

While the high-density platters will mainly be used in 3TB high-capacity products, Seagate has also confirmed that it will be using the same technology to create lower-power 2TB, 1.5TB, and 1TB drives with fewer platters.

As is traditional for consumer-oriented storage products, Seagate has been quick to point out just how much media such a drive can store: up to 120 high-definition movies, 1,500 games, thousands of photographs, or "virtually countless hours" of digital music - in other words, enough storage to keep your average file sharer happy for at least a month.

Seagate's new drive follows a steady increase in areal density across the industry, from Western Digital's 250GB/inch² breakthrough of 2008 through to Samsung's 417GB/inch² 2TB EcoGreen drive, released in August last year.

With the industry continuing to find ways to pack ever-larger amounts of data into the same area, Seagate is likely to find that its headline-grabbing achievement - like the past achievements of its competitors - will be trumped in short order.

Which, when all is said and done, is great news for consumers.