Print 55 comment(s) - last by mcnabney.. on Jan 29 at 8:37 PM

Western Digital cracks the 2TB barrier

Western Digital has announced its latest drive, a 2 Terabyte Caviar Green hard drive with 32 MB of cache and a seek time of 8.9ms. It runs between 7200 or 5400 RPM depending on load, which saves power.

Due to advances in Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR), it is able to achieve this using a four platter design, with 500 GB per platter. Having fewer platters reduces power consumption as well.

WDC's previous capacity champion was only 1TB, so this new flagship has been anticipated for use in DVRs and archival systems. The model number is WD20EADS, and is being shipped to distributors this week.

In addition to the 2TB model, Western Digital is also launching a 1.5TB model (WD15EADS) to accompany its revised 1TB model (WD10EADS). Both also feature 32MB of cache, which helps to increase access speed to commonly accessed data.

"While some in the industry wondered if the end consumer would buy a 1 TB drive, already some 10 percent of 3.5-inch hard drive sales are at the 1 TB level or higher, serving demand from video applications and expanding consumer media libraries," said Mark Geenen, President of Trend Focus.

WDC's primary competitor Seagate recently unveiled their Barracuda 7200.12 series of 3.5" desktop drives, featuring a 1TB 2 platter design. It is available with 32MB of cache as well.

Seagate is being particularly cautious these days, after firmware problems with the flagship Barracuda 7200.11 series of drives caused problems with RAID and Linux setups, and lowered prosumer confidence in the world's leading hard drive supplier.

Its Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB drive (ST31500341AS) was previously the largest single hard drive available to consumers, and the only one to go above 1TB.

Seagate may very well release their own 2TB 7200.12, but they still haven't been able to supply the Momentus 7200.4 500GB laptop drives that they announced six months ago on July 10.

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Price/error rate
By icrf on 1/27/2009 11:18:44 AM , Rating: 3
The spec sheet says it has a non-recoverable read error rate of 10^15, so that's an order of magnitude higher than the Seagate 1.5 TB drive (a bigger deal with drives of this size).

Googling around, I found it listed on, out of stock, for $272, which sounds like a reasonable initial price for these things. If that were $200, I'd buy three today and retire my big WD3200 array.

RE: Price/error rate
By mcnabney on 1/27/2009 12:37:41 PM , Rating: 2
The big Seagates are priced at 8.67 cents per GB. If they price them in line with that we would expect them at around $175 to $180 for a 2TB version.

RE: Price/error rate
By TomZ on 1/27/2009 1:37:38 PM , Rating: 3
The 2TB drives will have a price premium at first. I'll bet Newegg starts selling them at $230-$249.

RE: Price/error rate
By mcnabney on 1/29/2009 8:37:17 PM , Rating: 2
The Egg is selling OEM versions for $299.99, a whopping 15 cents per GB!


RE: Price/error rate
By MrDiSante on 1/27/2009 2:19:02 PM , Rating: 3
The Seagates also have the potential feature of bricking. I bought a Seagate 1TB with the SD15 firmware, and while mine in particular didn't brick (and is now on the newest, supposedly bug-free firmware), my trust in Seagate has been shaken.

They will have to have a perfect record for a year or two until I buy their drives again. Although they did handle the issue remarkably well and I would like to congratulate them for that; if they hadn't, Seagate would have been a dead brand to me - now it's just on probation.

RE: Price/error rate
By Parhel on 1/27/2009 2:30:03 PM , Rating: 2
One bad firmware release, and you don't trust them anymore? It's your money, but I think that's a bit over-reactionary. I've seen firmware upgrades brick products many times. It even happened to me with an Asus motherboard, and I trust Asus as much as any manufacturer. Accidents happen. It's really, as you said, about how the company handles the issue afterwards.

RE: Price/error rate
By TomZ on 1/27/2009 2:35:36 PM , Rating: 2
Prior to this issue, the 1.5TB drives had a problem with introducing long pauses (like 30 seconds) when reading or writing. This was also a firmware problem that took Seagate many months to finally acknowledge and fix.

In addition, the response to the current issue was botched. Their initial firmware update that was supposed to fix the original issue was also buggy and caused a lot of people a lot of trouble.

So another perspective is that there is a pattern of Seagate having a number of firmware problems with this series of drives. I'll personally avoid them for a while for this reason.

RE: Price/error rate
By Parhel on 1/27/2009 5:18:31 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't know about the other firmware issue. I was only aware of the most recent issue concerning the bricked drives. I actually need to buy three hard drives within the next few days (which is very uncommon for me,) so thanks for the info.

RE: Price/error rate
By PrinceGaz on 1/27/2009 7:28:14 PM , Rating: 2
You may have seen firmware upgrades brick products many times, but there is a big difference when you're talking about a hard-drive that has a lot of important data on it. If an optical drive, motherboard, graphics-card or some portable device stops working because of a firmware upgrade, you can replace it wwith a working alternative and you're back in business.

When a hard-drive stops working, at best you've got to spend time restoring from a backup and possibly reinstalling Windows and everything else, and at worst some data (possibly a lot if you don't perform regular backups) is gone for good. A hard-drive firmware problem is much more serious than any other, and Seagate drives are off my shopping list for at least a year or two also.

RE: Price/error rate
By icanhascpu on 1/27/09, Rating: -1
RE: Price/error rate
By MrDiSante on 1/28/2009 4:39:33 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry, I thought basic reading comprehension skills were still being taught in elementary school, apparently not. If you'd actually read my message you would have noticed that I said that my drives in particular are fine.

I don't keep drives specifically for backup, I simply ensure that all my data is replicated across all of the desktops, and occasionally (once every few months) back up everything to DVDs.

I, personally, don't like it when manufacturers create problems for me. Problems such as having to keep the computer running 24/7 because that minimizes the likelihood of the drive dying and not knowing whether to actually apply their firmware updates that "fix" the issues since the "fixes" also brick drives. But hey, if that's your cup of tea, go for it. I, on the other hand, will give my business to another manufacturer for the time being.

RE: Price/error rate
By icanhascpu on 1/28/2009 8:51:20 PM , Rating: 2
The majority of those people made the problems for themselves. You complaining about it means you would have been one of them with the if it works, fix it attitude.

Your reasoning is ridiculous.

RE: Price/error rate
By icanhascpu on 1/27/09, Rating: -1
RE: Price/error rate
By ekv on 1/28/2009 1:43:38 AM , Rating: 2

The infamous double-post.

You realize, of course, that with only 2, you can't run RAID 5


RE: Price/error rate
By icanhascpu on 1/28/2009 8:53:02 PM , Rating: 2
Because I said anything about RAID5?

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