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Seagate releases details of 3TB drive

Simon Sharwood, Contributor

Seagate seems to have breached the 3TB barrier for disk drives, but has not released any details of the drive.

Speculation the company has set a new benchmark for disk capacity and areal density is based on the company's overnight release of a three terabyte version of its FreeAgent GoFlex Desk (pictured). Previous versions of the FreeAgent GoFlex Desk, a product offering USB 2.0 connectivity, have used a single disk and are just 44mm deep, insufficient space for two disks 3.5 inch disks. The new addition to the range is depicted in the same chassis as its predecessors, making it possible that the product houses a new drive with three terabytes of capacity.

While it is conceivable the chassis could house two 2.5 inch drives, Seagate's offerings in that market max out at 640Gb making it almost certain that the new product contains 3.5 inch drives.

Seagate, however, makes no mention on its site of a three terabyte drive. The Constellation range finishes at a pair of terabytes. The Barracuda range tops out at two terabytes, but does come in a 1.5TB variant with a height of  just 26.1mm that could conceivably be sandwiched into a slightly larger case than the new GoFlex Desk.

We've asked Seagate to explain just what's inside the new product and have been advised its Singapore executives will respond promptly. Seagate has no authorised spokespeople in Australia.

We'll update the story as soon as we have more details to hand.

UPDATE 2:00 PM JUNE 30th

Seagate has just contacted SearchStorage ANZ and has said it cannot currently confirm what drive is inside its new product, but promises to clarify matters "tomorrow morning".

UPDATE 2:30PM JUNE 30th

@StorageIO has kindly pointed out that Seagate now has a page describing the device as possessing a " 3.5-inch design" and another page in which it states the new 3TB FreeAgent GoFlex Desk has the same dimensions and weight as the 1TB and 2TB versions. Those statistics would almost certainly change if the unit contained more than one disk drive.

It's therefore looking almost certain that Seagate has a 3TB disk drive in the wild and that our speculation (above) about other drives bringing the FreeAgent GoFlex Desk to 3TB is just that.

The release of a 3TB drive is a significant landmark, as it increases the capacity of mainstream hard disks by 50%. We therefor await Seagate's comments about the product with interest.

UPDATE 10:00AM JULY 1ST

SearchStorage ANZ has been contacted by Seagate, which has confirmed it has released a 3TB drive.

The drive has five platters, each presumably boasting 600GB of data. Seagate has not advised SearchStorage ANZ about areal density - we're unsure if the platters are single or double-sided, so cannot yet make a proper assessment of the areal density of the disk. Nor do we know the RPM, cache or other details of the disk. Once again, we've asked Seagate for more data!

UPDATE 3:00 PM JULY 1st

SearchStorage ANZ today met with representatives of a top-tier storage array vendor and, in discussion about this story, was told that it has already started tests on a 3TB drive from Seagate. Drives suitable for use in consumer-grade desktop storage - like the FreeAgent GoFlex Desk mentioned above - are sometimes also suitable for use in archival applications, so this could be same drive.

UPDATE, 10:00 AM JULY  5th

Seagate has contacted SearchStorage ANZ with more details of the 3TB drive, which it describes as offering:

  • A 64 MB cache
  • Five platters
  • Double-sided platters
  • 600 GB per platter, with 300GB on each side
  • 7200 RPM

There's no word yet on whether the drive fits into any of Seagate's product lines or if it will be released as a discrete product.