Seagate confirms 3TB hard drive for 2010

3TB technology

Seagate has confirmed it will launch a 3TB hard disk drive (HDD) later this year but has warned system builders to check their infrastructure is up to scratch before trying to put one in.

The 3.5in drive will be part of the Seagate Constellation ES line, which so far had only reached capacity heights of 2TB.

A spokesperson from the company told IT PRO: "Seagate can indeed confirm that there will be 3TB sometime later this year."

However, she said the reasoning for releasing the information early was "in order to drive awareness/education about the need for people to prepare their systems and be ready for capacities greater than the 2.1TB."

Due to a judgement made almost 30 years ago that capacity would never exceed 2.1TB which in turn led to the logical block address (LBA) range on a hard drive being limited to 16 bytes per drive sector many machines will not be able to handle a 3TB HDD.

Barbara Craig, senior product marketing manager at Seagate, claimed in a blog post the capacity limit was more than sufficient for those it the 1980s, but things have clearly changed.

"With the vast amounts of digital content we're serving up today, we're now faced with operating systems, BIOS controllers, HDD controllers and device drivers that use the same basic limitation of 2.1TB for the maximum size of a hard drive or logical storage device," wrote Craig.

She thinks she has the answer.

"Long LBA addressing (LLBA) is needed," she added. "LLBA extends the number of bytes used in a Command Descriptor Block (a data structure used to format data passed between host computers and hard drives) to allow access to an LBA range that exceeds the 2.1TB limitation."

Craig concluded that those who wanted to look into using these larger HDDs needed to first look into hardware vendors and their LLBA abilities.

Along with the 3.5in version of this larger capacity Constellation ES drive, a 2.5in for laptops will also become available but neither product was given a confirmed launch date.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.