After months of shipping 3TB hard drives inside USB enclosures and network-attached storage boxes, Seagate is finally ready to let one stand on its own. The company has announced that a 3TB flavor of its flagship Barracuda XT desktop drive is now shipping. Unlike the 3TB Caviar Green, which uses four platters and has a 5,400-RPM spindle speed, the new 'cuda spins five 600GB discs at 7,200 RPM.
That configuration sounds familiar because it's the same one used in Hitachi's Deskstar 7K3000. Seagate's platters have a higher areal density than Hitachi's, though. The Barracuda squeezes 488 gigabits into every square inch of surface area, while the Deskstar's areal density is only 411 Gb/in².
At its fastest, Seagate claims the new 'cuda can push bits at 149MB/s. Obviously, sustained transfers won't be able to do much with the drive's 6Gbps Serial ATA interface. However, burst transfers from the drive's generous 64MB DRAM cache could enjoy a modest speed boost from the faster data pipe.
To help folks sort out the confusion surrounding the 2.19TB barrier, Seagate has put up a helpful page that includes a download link to its own DiscWizard software. This app unlocks the drive's full capacity under Windows XP and allows users to boot from it with systems that lack UEFI BIOSes. The latter is an important consideration given that this is a 7,200-RPM model more likely to be used as a system drive than the low-power Caviar Green.
The press release doesn't reveal the Barracuda XT 3TB's price or when it will arrive on retail shelves. You can probably expect a bit of a premium, though. Although the 3TB Caviar Green is down to $200 at Newegg, the Deskstar 7K3000 is selling for $350.