Hitachi Ships 1TB-per-platter Desktop Hard Drives
In 2007, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (or Hitachi GST for short) released the world's first 3.5” hard drive boasting a 1TB total capacity, the Deskstar 7K1000. It was a five-platter, 10-headed beast of a drive with high reliability, high performance, and a high price. Fast forward four years and a couple of revisions later – Hitachi is now shipping a new Deskstar 7K1000.D, which apparently does all that with just one platter and two heads!
Indeed, apart from the flagship 1TB model, the 7K1000.D series consists of 250GB, 320GB, 500GB (single-head), and 750GB (dual-head) models, all of which are single-platter designs. 1.5TB, 2TB, 3TB, 4TB, and (maybe) 5TB models are sure to follow in a different series (maybe 7K4000 or 7K5000?); It looks like Hitachi is testing the water with these single-platter drives first before beginning production of such multi-platter designs.
As far as the other specifications go, we have 7200RPM rotational speeds, SATA 6Gbps interfaces and 32MB cache buffers across the board. The latter is somewhat unusual; usually drive makers outfit lower-capacity models with smaller 8MB or 16MB buffers. The platters also expectantly use Advanced Format 4K sector technology, but the drives will emulate 512K sectors, negating the need for partition-aligning software.
Hitachi will also be offering quieter, more power-efficient Deskstar 5K1000.B drives. These are essentially 7K1000.D's spinning at lower RPMs thanks to Hitachi's “CoolSpin” technology (marketing speak for a sub-6000 RPM rotational speed). It looks like these will only be available in 1TB. Buffer size and interface are the same, otherwise.
There will also be CinemaStar versions of both series, loaded with special firmware features and an extended 1.2 million hour MTBF (mean time before failure) to handle some demanding non-PC tasks, including 24/7 surveillance systems and DVRs.
As Hitachi has indicated that the drives are shipping, they should hit store shelves here in North America in a few weeks, if not months. It will be interesting to see how one of these will do in benchmarks; STR (sustained transfer rates) should be very high, but real life performance and access times will have to wait for a physical drive sample.
UPDATE: The Deskstar 7K1000.D is now available at Amazon here and other retailers.
(Via Hitachi GST)