Tuesday Western Digital said that its 3 TB WD Caviar Green internal SATA HDD--slated as the world's largest thus far--is now available at select U.S. retailers and distributors. The drive will carry a $239 price tag and will be joined by an additional 2.5 TB model costing $189. Both will utilize 750 GB-per platter areal density and Advanced Format (AF) technology.
"WD Caviar Green drives are an eco-friendly storage solution with WD GreenPower Technology, which reduces power consumption by enabling lower operating temperatures for increased reliability and decreases acoustical noise for quiet operation," the company said Tuesday. "The WD Caviar Green 2.5 TB and 3 TB hard drives are designed for use as secondary external storage and next-generation PC storage in 64-bit-based systems."
The drawback to both capacities is that--on a hardware level--BIOS-based motherboards are limited, offering capacity support up to 2.19 TB. On the software front, 32-bit Windows operating systems prior to Vista share the same limitation, capable of handling 2.19 TB partitions or less thanks to their native support for the legacy Master Boot Record (MBR).
However MBR is expected to be replaced by the GUID Partition Table--which is already supported by Windows 7 and Vista--by the end of the year, and the BIOS will be replaced by the new Extensive Firmware Interface (EFI)--both of which will handle capacities over 2.19 TB. But that doesn't help current consumers wanting to take advantage of the expanded storage space.
To help overcome the current hardware and software limitations, WD is bundling the two drives with a PCI Express-based Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI)-compliant Host Bus Adapter (HBA) card which will enable the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7 to use a known driver with correct support for large capacity drives.
Unfortunately, even if installed on a machine with a EFI-embedded motherboard, Windows XP machines can't use either drive because the OS offers native support for MBR only.
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I continue to be amazed at how they can continue to increase platter density. I still wonder when they will reach a limit.Reply
Also...is anyone else worried about so much information on one disk? Yes, I'm a fan of RAID and backup, but 3TB seems like so much data.
I can still remember...(I'm sure we'll get plenty of comments - floppy disks, punch cards, MB of storage, etc)
I am more curios about Raid support more than anything else, I wouldn't make this my bootable OS drive, but would this go into my Drobo? I am worried it won't...Reply
Ever heard of Ontrack? That was a piece of software installed on boot sector which allowed boot on old BIOS that wouldn't allow > 2GB disks. I bet that could have been used instead. A driver-level patch would also do the trick but asking Microsoft to do their work is like asking for a new feature which is not compatible with any current Windows version but is sure to be shipped with the following one...Reply
I agree huron... i would be worried about data on such a large HDD. I would prefer to have a few smaller 1TB or 2TB disks mirrored.Reply
I've got a few questions...Reply
If I build a new PC in 2011, and I want a lot of disk space, I must look for a motherboard with EFI, get Windows 7 64-bit, and then I can use these 3 TB disks without needing HBA cards?
What if I want to add 6 of these new disks to my current machine? Would I need 6 HBA cards? I don't have PCI-E slots for all of them. Does one HBA card support multiple drives?
There's a more detailed review here
huronAlso...is anyone else worried about so much information on one disk? Yes, I'm a fan of RAID and backup, but 3TB seems like so much data.I can still remember...(I'm sure we'll get plenty of comments - floppy disks, punch cards, MB of storage, etc)Personally I don't think it is so much about the amouont of data being stored as it is the size of data being stored with many people using these drives to rip full size DVDs, BluRays, etc... along with Video and Image editing advancing and also taking up huge amounts of digital space. I doubt anyone is storing 10m+ text documents.Reply
huronI continue to be amazed at how they can continue to increase platter density. I still wonder when they will reach a limit.Also...is anyone else worried about so much information on one disk? Yes, I'm a fan of RAID and backup, but 3TB seems like so much data.I can still remember...(I'm sure we'll get plenty of comments - floppy disks, punch cards, MB of storage, etc)Reply
Well, it's not going to be 3TB of really, really important text documents, is it? 99% porn and you know it.
christiangordonI agree huron... i would be worried about data on such a large HDD. I would prefer to have a few smaller 1TB or 2TB disks mirrored.I don't understand your concern. If you are going to RAID Mirror then why does it matter about the size of the disk? I could understand a concern if you were using a RAID Stripe.Reply
Does anyone know of a UEFI motherboard available right now? I've seen a couple laptops that use it, but not desktop systems.Reply
$239 not bad, compared to when they released the 2TB at $299 initiallyReply