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On March 16, 2007, UPS delivered to our storage test lab a shipment from Hitachi, which we had anticipated for several weeks. The box contained the world's first hard drive with a total capacity of 1 terabyte (1 TB): the Deskstar 7K1000.
The new drive is a milestone for both Hitachi and the hard drive industry. Not only is it the first product to store up to 1,000 gigabytes on a single hard drive - beating Seagate to the market - but it also comes with a number of innovations. In addition to its Serial ATA II interface, it is the first hard drive that carries as much as 32 MB of cache memory, and it is Hitachi's first 3.5" drive to implement perpendicular magnetic recording technology (PMR). The company had deployed PMR in its Travelstar 5K160 family, but not into desktop drives. Hitachi's data sheet also lists various features that help to increase reliability and reduce power consumption.
To reach the high capacity of 1 TB, Hitachi had to increase the areal density of the storage media in its new drive. Its predecessor, the Deskstar T7K500, is based on three magnetic platters that store approximately 166 GB each, while the new 7K1000 is based on five platters at approximately 200 GB each. Seagate is currently preparing its 1 TB drive on a four platter design. Hitachi has already had hard drives with five platters in the past, and such a configuration is fairly common for enterprise hard drives as well. Although the PMR recording technology is mature enough to store far beyond 200 GB on a platter, Hitachi decided to stay on this conservative course.
While the capacity of 1 TB is unmatched and highly appealing to enthusiasts, we had to get one of the first 7K1000 drives to check how it compares to the competition: Samsung's 500 GB T166 drive offers great transfer rates at low cost, and Seagate's 750 GB Barracuda 7200.10 has proven to be an excellent choice as well. We recommend checking out our Interactive HDD Charts to compare the performance of over 30 hard drive models.