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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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.

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