Hitachi unveils a trio of 3TB hard drives

It’s official: Hitachi has joined the 3TB party. Fittingly, the hard drive maker has a trio of products with 3TB storage capacities. The first and perhaps most interesting is the Deskstar 7K3000, which spins its 3TB at a speedy 7,200-RPM. Hitachi doesn’t reveal how many platters this drive uses, but the spec sheet (PDF) mentions an areal density of 411 Gb/in², which suggests a five-platter design. That wouldn’t be unusual for Hitachi, which stacked five platters with its first 1TB and 2TB models. Western Digital’s Caviar Green 3TB is a four-platter design, although its platters spin at a mere 5,400 RPM.

Hitachi quotes an impressive maximum media transfer rate of 207MB/s for the 7K3000. The very same spec sheet fails to mention the drive’s access time, although it does reveal a 64MB cache and a 6Gbps Serial ATA interface. Those last two elements are pretty standard for modern 7,200-RPM mechanical drives.

As one might expect, all the usual caveats about running 3TB drives at full capacity apply to the 7K3000. Hitachi has put up its own page detailing the compatibility picture, which looks to be the same as for the Caviar Green. The Green comes with an auxiliary SATA card that lets you boot from the drive on systems that lack an EFI BIOS, but you’re on your own with the Deskstar, whose $250 suggested retail price is only $20 more than the slower WD drive.

While the 7K3000 has been shipping since November, the press release also mentions that a 3TB Deskstar 5K3000 is due to head out the door next quarter. Hitachi doesn’t get into specifics on this low-power drive’s spindle speed, listing it only as “CoolSpin” on the spec sheet (PDF). Something in the neighborhood of 5,400 RPM seems like a safe bet. The 5K3000’s maximum media transfer rate is pegged at 171MB/s, which is still pretty quick, but you only get 32MB of cache and a 3Gbps SATA interface.

I suspect the 5K3000 is arriving late because the first batch has taken up residence in Hitachi’s third 3TB product, the XL external drive. The 3TB version of this drive carries a $250 MSRP, and I really doubt Hitachi is throwing in a 7K3000 and giving you the USB interface and enclosure for free. Not that the speed of the drive matters; inexplicably, the XL is saddled with a lowly USB 2.0 interface that’s going to cap real-world transfer rates at around 38MB/s. Waiting for three terabytes of data to trickle onto the drive at that speed sounds like all kinds of fun.

Comments closed
    • ronch
    • 9 years ago

    I was just wondering what that little piece of black plastic is doing hovering over the platter? Yes, that one near the read/write heads.

    • glynor
    • 9 years ago

    One of these days I’d love to see a roundup of the various “high-capacity” magnetic drives out there (2TB+).

    Even though this has a 7200 spindle speed, it would be interesting to see and compare overall performance even with things like the 3TB Caviar Green. Spindle speeds aren’t everything, after all.

    • ModernPrimitive
    • 9 years ago

    I never had an IBM 75gxp drive, let alone one fail but still a little paranoid of drives with more than 2 platters. Wonder if there’s a name for my phobia? 😛 Or… would it be I’m too cheap to zero a backup drive….

    (I did have a couple of 3 platter 60GXP’s)

    • axeman
    • 9 years ago


    • albundy
    • 9 years ago

    glad i waited up for 7200rpm 3tb’s. where are the 2tb 7200rpm’s? all i could find was the caviar black.

      • Farting Bob
      • 9 years ago

      The WD 2TB black is all you need if you want high speed high capacity at a sensible price.
      Seagate have a 7200rpm 2TB, its whatever one comes with SATA 3 to help make it more expensive while providing no benefit at all.

    • Krogoth
    • 9 years ago

    There needs to some clearification on booting issues and BIOS equipped systems.

    You can boot from a BIOS-equipped motherboard if you use some kind of boot loader (GURB and number of others) if you partition is larger than 2TiB or use some kind of HBA (the kit goes this route). If whatever reason, you cannot use the two previouos options. You can still split up the HDD into two seperate partitions. The only caveat is that bootable one cannot be larger than 2TiB.

    Despite all of this, I highly suspect “3TiB+ Ready!” will be the next big marketing point for motherboard guys when they finally make the move to EFI. Despite the fact that enthusiast are moving their boot drives onto much smaller SSDs which still are a long way from hitting the same problem.

    • flip-mode
    • 9 years ago

    !st. Hitachi drives are noisy.

      • nanoflower
      • 9 years ago

      Except when they aren’t. I have one of the Hitachi 7200RPM 1TB drives and it’s as silent as the Seagate, Samsung and WD drives I have.

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