It’s official: Seagate is planning a 3TB hard drive

The rumor mill wasn’t wrong: Seagate does indeed have a 3TB mechanical hard drive up its sleeve. The folks at Thinq.co.uk got the scoop from Seagate Senior Product Manager Barbara Craig, who said the 3TB enterprise-targeted behemoth will be out later this year.

As Thinq explains in detail, however, there’s more to the upcoming product than just denser platters. Only some operating systems, like 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and Vista, actually support the Long LBA addressing system required to recognize more than 2.1TB of storage capacity. To complicate matters further, a new partition table system is needed to make the drive bootable—that means saying goodbye to the BIOS and hello to UEFI system firmware, which few hardware makers have done.

In light of these limitations, it’s no wonder Seagate is targeting the enterprise market rather than consumer offerings.

Craig told Thinq that adoption of the necessary technologies is nevertheless well underway. The site quotes her as as saying, "Many of the partners – you know the operating system, the BIOS, the RAID controllers – everyone has attacked it, and I think about 80 percent of the infrastructure’s ready to support it."

Comments closed
    • Crayon Shin Chan
    • 10 years ago

    What happened to 48bit LBA? Is Long LBA just 48bit LBA? There’s also the newer sector size to consider, which would make 48bit LBA applicable to drives 8 times larger than it would otherwise allow with 512bytes/sector.

      • Anonim1979
      • 10 years ago

      128000 TB with 48bit adressing. And it was even on all PATA discs bigger than 128GB.
      So whats going on?

        • Raskaran
        • 10 years ago

        28/48bit LBA is more of a limitation of the ATA protocol used to communicate the drive with Bios or OS. Expanding it 28->48 needed changes within Bios and OS. Currently it’s a non issue for the foreseeable future.

        What we are talking here is about the MBR addressing limitation which is 32bit of sectors(whatever size), and they expanded the number of sectors supported by intoducing new type of a partition table called GPT, as previously it needs changes to to Bios And OS to support it. But the changes are so big that we need new Bios called EFI in order to boot from such a GPT drive. As i previously said non-boot usage of GPT disks is permissable in systems with old Bios and lacking EFI support OSes.

          • demani
          • 10 years ago

          So to confirm, Mac Pros should be able to use these right off the bat? (Not asking because of any platform bias, but because that seems to be the only mass distributed system that uses EFI and GPT by default, at least AFAIK).

          Would it be possible to use add-on controllers (we can call them SATA-LOTASPACE) to get that somehow?

            • Raskaran
            • 10 years ago

            You should ask someone with a Mac, i only tend to PCs.
            Granted any Mac that supports booting off a 2TB+ raid partition should have no troubles with this one.

    • Raskaran
    • 10 years ago

    Ekhm, I know you are reposting the data from Thinq, but truth has to be told: Windows XP 32bit supports Long LBA since SP1, it also supports reading from GPT disks. WinXP 64bit(yes its not a myth, it exists) supports read/write to a GPT disk.
    As for EFI support of WinXP(any), we have couple more years of <2TB SSD to consider. We might even get a support hack from some die hard WinXP fan.
    WinXP has atleast 4 more years of life ahead of it §[<http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/?LN=en-gb&C2=1173<]§

    • 0g1
    • 10 years ago

    Im not sure if I can trust Seagate for reliable hard drives. More space means more data to lose when the drive fails. Id like a 3TB drive but I’d be hesitant to buy it until its proven reliable.

      • cygnus1
      • 10 years ago

      No matter how much data you have, if you’re worried about losing it at all you need to back it up. No one spindle is trustworthy enough to be the only place you store something valuable.

        • 0g1
        • 10 years ago

        True. I guess I should just double up and get RAID 1. RAID 1 is much simpler than backing up all the time.

    • BooTs
    • 10 years ago

    Gigantic picture of a hard drive for the lose.
    Wasting a ton of space on the main page with a lame picture of a hard drive.

      • Damage
      • 10 years ago

      That will be enough. Any more comments spam and you’ll be banned.

        • BooTs
        • 10 years ago

        Understood.

      • Hattig
      • 10 years ago

      It’s a hard drive IN SPACE you fool! Surely worthy of a large picture.

      UEFI – so Macs will support these out of the box eh?

    • Krogoth
    • 10 years ago

    1990s called, they want using partitioning to overcome limitations back. 😉

    FYI, for you kiddies. HDD manufacturers had to deal with a number of file system and controller limitations over the years.

    Here is a long list of them.

    §[<http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/bios/size.htm<]§

      • yuhong
      • 10 years ago

      Except this time using partitions to overcome the limit is impossible, because the limit in question is fundamental to the partition scheme itself.

        • Krogoth
        • 10 years ago

        Ahem, no.

        Just create a 2TiB non-GPT partition for booting the OS and use the reminder for another partition.

        It sounds exactly like what people use to do when they had to deal with the limits of FAT16 on HDD larger than 2GiB.

          • cygnus1
          • 10 years ago

          Except the partition size isn’t the only problem, there’s actually two problems. The two problems are fairly related. They both stem from not using enough bits to count sectors. The first being LBA address bits and the second being the number of bits used in the partition table to mark the start and stop sectors of the partition.

          Both the LBA and MBR partition table basically don’t use enough bits to address a device or partition larger than ~2TB.

            • Raskaran
            • 9 years ago

            “LBA address bits ” are 48bit now! they are used to ask a drive firmware for a given sector(currently new drives still present 512B sectors despite having 4KB internal ones) You can address space from drives/partitions much bigger then 2TB.

            There is nothing prohibiting a usage pattern that Krogoth suggested, nothing except the coding in the Raid chips which present >2TB raid partitions(or partitions past the 2TB marker) as unbootable to the Bios. Might be the bios itself that prohibits suge usage, still its a case of willful bad programming. On Windows plays a part as well.
            I await a claim by Linux guys that it works in their OS with no problem.
            I guess you kids don’t remember the way we could go around previous limits. Like the 32GB one. We got the drive to report 32GB to the Bios and the true size to the OS. If they don’t offer such a possibilty now as in past then they probably got some dirty money not to do it.

            Any time they introduce a new thing and claim its not possible to use it with older hardware(because they limited the possibility through software) is when they do it on purpose to get your money.

            • Krogoth
            • 9 years ago

            LBAs on modern BIOS, controller chip are already at 48bit and that limit is 128 PiBs or 134,217,728 GiBs.

            I doubt we will get anywhere near that limit.

            • cygnus1
            • 9 years ago

            Completely correct, not sure what I was thinking.

            • Krogoth
            • 9 years ago

            Yeah, there have been a ton of stupid capacity limitations over the years. Some of them were due to memory issues, while some of the others happened because the original coders never thought that capacities would reach their limit within their lifetime. 😉

            Anyway, I think this one is not much of an issue for majority of desktop users.

            A. Most mainstream users and even a good number of enthusiasts aren’t running TiBs worth of capacity under a single partition/volume. It will be the case for a while yet.

            B.) OS is being shifted onto faster SSDs. They are no where near the 2TiB limit imposed by current BIOS limitations.

    • Farting Bob
    • 10 years ago

    Im unlikely to want/need more than 2TB drives to boot OS’s, but i sure hope the new system i implimented in more boards, it will cause alot of confusion and frustration for people buying big drives when wondering why their PC just weeps when they try installed windows on it.

      • bthylafh
      • 10 years ago

      2TB should be enough for anybody, amirite?

        • MadManOriginal
        • 10 years ago

        No yourong, 640k is enough for anyone!

    • StashTheVampede
    • 10 years ago

    More UEFI boards incoming! Very nice.

      • Krogoth
      • 10 years ago

      Not any time soon.

      You will see it mostly in the workstation/server arena for next several years.

      In that time frame, it will start coming down to enthusiast boards and eventually onto mainstream stuff.

      • bthylafh
      • 10 years ago

      Must hasten XP’s demise so that we can eventually get nice toys like this for ourselves. That’s the only reason I can feature for BIOS to still be around, since all the newer consumer OSes support EFI.

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