Hitachi, seemingly in defiance of the weather gods, has launched the world’s largest 3.5-inch hard drive: The monstrous 4TB Deskstar 5K. With a rotational speed of 5,900RPM, a 6Gbps SATA 3 interface, and the same 32MB of cache as its 2 and 3TB siblings, the 4TB model is basically the same beast — just with four platters instead of two or three. The list price is around $345 — not great, but definitely reasonable, given the current hard drive climate.
Curiously, though, this news doesn’t come in the form of a press release from Hitachi, but rather some actual boxed, on-the-shelf photos taken by Akiba, a PC leak site. We can only speculate why this is the case, but it’s probably down to the Thailand floods and uncertainty about continued production. The hard drive’s label clearly states that it’s made in Thailand (pictured below), and it would seem foolhardy to announce a brand new product when component availability and pricing is so variable. It’s possible that the stock on the shelf was made before the floods, too.
Of course, at this juncture it’s now standard practice to ask “Just how much storage space do we need?” Only a technofool claims that an arbitrary amount is “enough,” but likewise, given the current state of computing, and excepting extreme power users, who really needs a 4TB hard drive? Is it even wise to pack a computer full of four-platter drives, instead of opting for smaller drives with fewer platters?
The other question worth asking is how much data we can squeeze into a hard disk drive — and the simple answer is “a lot more than 4TB.” A recent advance in platter data density promises up to 6TB per platter — and you can squeeze five platters into a 3.5-inch drive. So that’s 30TB in a single drive, and it’s fairly safe to assume that another discovery will come along in the next few years and boost capacity yet further.
How much storage capacity do you have in your main computer?
- ^ Will the Thailand floods drown the hard drive? (www.extremetech.com)
- ^ the current hard drive climate (www.extremetech.com)
- ^ up to 6TB per platter (www.geek.com)
- ^ Deskstar 5K4000 (www.hitachigst.com)
- ^ external enclosure that houses the same drive (www.hitachigst.com)
- ^ Akiba (translate.google.com)