Hitachi pips Seagate to 1TB drive

Seagate and Hitachi GST will both have terabyte evaluation hard drives with OEMs within the next five months. Hitachi has announced a retail version already.


It's all go in the hard drive world. Not content with petabyte-level arrays from fellow company Hitachi Data Systems, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies is also blowing its new product trumpet hard.

In an announcement brought forward to pip Seagate's 1TB HDD news, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies has said it will ship a one terabyte, 5-platter, 3.5-inch hard drive this quarter, costing $399.

Hitachi said it would have a drive available in the retail market before the end of March. Models for use in digital video recorders and enterprise computer servers will follow in the second quarter when production volumes increase, said Doug Pickford, Hitachi's director of market and product strategy.

A terabyte drive allows viewers to easily store and retrieve almost 250 hours of HD programming

The Deskstar 7K1000 drive, which will be on show at next week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, will have five 3.5-inch disk platters on which to store data. It will carry a SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) interface on the retail version. A model with the older PATA (Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment) interface will follow later, said Pickford. It will have a rotational speed of 7,200 rpm.

The new drive "reasserts the hard drive’s leadership as the highest-capacity, lowest-cost storage technology,” according to Shinjiro Iwata, Hitachi GST's chief marketing officer.

Seagate said in a statement that it plans to begin shipping a 1TB-byte drive sometime during the first half of 2007 to major OEM customers like system and PC vendors. It didn't provide any other details of the drive or its cost. Seagate also didn't address the retail market in its statement.

However, Hitachi GST appears not to have any significant lead over Seagate with OEMs. The version of the TB drive designed for lower duty-cycle, high-capacity enterprise environments is currently under evaluation at major OEM customers and is expected to be available in the second quarter. HDD OEMs prefer to have dual sources for their drive units.

Terabyte drives, for long a goal of the storage industry, started to get within reach in the last year as drive makers began using a new technology called perpendicular recording.

Like the longitudinal recording that has been used until recently, perpendicular recording relies on magnetically charged particles for data storage. In longitudinal drives, the north and south poles of the magnetic particles run parallel to the disk, but in the new method they are arranged perpendicular to the disk. The result of this new arrangement is that each particle occupies a smaller area of the disk's surface and so more particles can be crammed onto the disk.

The new Hitachi drive will cram 148G bits of data into each square inch of disk space. In comparison, the company's current highest-capacity 3.5-inch drive, a 500G-byte model based on longitudinal recording, can only manage half that density.

Seagate's current highest-capacity drive offers 750GB.

Some original reporting by Martyn Williams, IDG News Service (Tokyo Bureau).

For more information, our sister site Techworld has a comprehensive data storage resource page.

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