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Seagate Confirms 3TB Hard Drive

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the remember-when-20meg-was-infinity dept.

Upgrades 467

Stoobalou writes "After a few weeks of rumours, Seagate's senior product manager Barbara Craig has confirmed that the company is announcing a 3TB drive later this year, but the move to 3TB of storage space apparently involves a lot more work than simply upping the areal density. The ancient foundations of the PC's three-decade legacy has once again reared its DOS-era head, revealing that many of today's PCs are simply incapable of coping with hard drives that have a larger capacity than 2.1TB."

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467 comments

frist prost (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32238172)

first!

does it work with Windows 98? (5, Funny)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238204)

i have to know because i have a Win98 PC that i use to play some old games and i wanted to upgrade it

Re:does it work with Windows 98? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32238298)

Please stop using Windows 98. (I jest but would like to offer some alternatives.)

If games are the only thing holding you back, let me recommend GOG.com [slashdot.org] or if you're really old school Dos Box [dosbox.com] .

Re:does it work with Windows 98? (2, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238442)

If games are the only thing holding you back, let me recommend GOG.com or if you're really old school Dos Box.

Both are awesome suggestions, but I still like having a top-of-the-line PC circa the year 2000 with Windows 98 installed on it laying around. It's like using an NES emulator vs. playing a game on NES hardware. Sure, you technically are playing the same game...but the experience isn't quite the same :-)

Re:does it work with Windows 98? (2, Funny)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238752)

Eh, just install Linux. You can then install a Cron script to randomly reboot the system at odd intervals. Bonus points if you make it see how important the work you're doing is and crash after you've been more than 10 minutes without saving.

Same experience exactly.

Re:does it work with Windows 98? (1)

Bruiser80 (1179083) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238806)

Have you tried running DirectX 1 and 2 games on new systems?

It doesn't work. You're at the mercy of hobby fixes. :-)

Re:does it work with Windows 98? (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238492)

WHOOOSH

Re:does it work with Windows 98? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238310)

The 32-bit Windows XP only sees 0.99 terabyte (from the article). Win98 probably has the same limitation.

Re:does it work with Windows 98? (1)

armanox (826486) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238524)

Win98 could handle partitions (Fat32) up to 2.1TB. Never tried it myself though.

Re:does it work with Windows 98? (1)

armanox (826486) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238496)

Windows 98 using Fat32 is limited to 2.1TB. Sorry to inform you of that.

Re:does it work with Windows 98? (5, Funny)

aardwolf64 (160070) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238518)

I think you could probably install EVERY game from the 90s on that hard drive and still have 2.09 TB left over. :-)

Re:does it work with Windows 98? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32238628)

Uh...Baldur's Gate alone was 5 CDs. Most games in the latter half of the decade were at least a few hundred MBs. NES ROMs they ain't.

2TB with 512-byte sectors (4, Insightful)

crow (16139) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238228)

If you move to 4K sectors, that should change the limit to 16TB, meaning that this shouldn't be an issue for several years. Why would you want .5K sectors on such a large drive anyway?

Re:2TB with 512-byte sectors (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32238362)

If you move to 4K sectors, that should change the limit to 16TB, meaning that this shouldn't be an issue for several years. Why would you want .5K sectors on such a large drive anyway?

I need quick read access for my ascii pron txt files, you insensitive clod!

Now get off of my lawn!

Re:2TB with 512-byte sectors (1)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238364)

Or just properly support 48-bit LBA, which is a limit of 128 PiB even at 512 byte sectors.
And GUID partition tables of course.

Re:2TB with 512-byte sectors (2, Insightful)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238406)

Because 512 byte sectors allow for less empty space waste than anything larger.

Imagine wasting 4095 vs 511 bytes for every file on your system (worst case scenario)

Re:2TB with 512-byte sectors (5, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238456)

most file systems already use a 4k sector.

Re:2TB with 512-byte sectors (2, Informative)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238562)

And if their sectors don't fall on a physical boundary, then you've just used 8KB on the physical drive.

Re:2TB with 512-byte sectors (2, Informative)

instagib (879544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238762)

And if the physical boundary is 512 bytes, this won't happen.

Re:2TB with 512-byte sectors (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238856)

Which is exactly what I was implying (see up-thread).

Re:2TB with 512-byte sectors (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238494)

Because 512 byte sectors allow for less empty space waste than anything larger.

Imagine wasting 4095 vs 511 bytes for every file on your system (worst case scenario)

Why not use a sane FS, then?

Re:2TB with 512-byte sectors (1, Funny)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238606)

because then we wouldn't be using NTFS.

Re:2TB with 512-byte sectors (5, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238584)

Yeah, you would only be able to store 800 million of your oddly small files on this new drive. What a disaster.

Re:2TB with 512-byte sectors (5, Funny)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238672)

Seriously? If you've got a 3TB drive, are you seriously suggesting a person be counting wasted bytes? You lose more space than what you're suggesting just in the conversion from "vendor measurement" to "OS measurement" of space on the disk.

Re:2TB with 512-byte sectors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32238446)

Because .64K sectors ought to be enough for anybody.

Re:2TB with 512-byte sectors (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32238574)

If you're on windows, you'll either need EFI or a separate boot drive.
Windows cannot boot from driver larger than 2 TB [microsoft.com]

The issue is, MBR doesn't support drives that big, so you have to use GPT (which Windows won't boot from w/o EFI).
So if you're on Windows, but without EFI, you're SOL. ;)

Also, kind of a pain [rodsbooks.com] on *nix+BIOS combos too.

Re:2TB with 512-byte sectors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32238926)

Most BIOS does not handle 4K sector size, so they will not be able to boot from such HD.

Linux can handle it just fine (4, Informative)

basketcase (114777) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238242)

I ran into that a few years ago when I added a 4TB hardware RAID5 to my Linux server. The partition table that is made by fdisk can't handle it. I was forced to use parted to make an EFI partition table instead. It was a little different but completely doable. Took me about 2 minutes on Google to find a howto.

Re:Linux can handle it just fine (1)

dotwaffle (610149) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238404)

EFI... Or LVM. LVM gives you additional benefits you may want to consider.

Re:Linux can handle it just fine (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238698)

I'm not familiar with LVM. Mind giving a quick "noob's guide on what you should know"?

Re:Linux can handle it just fine (4, Informative)

danomac (1032160) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238544)

You can also create a filesystem on the device without partitioning it. (create a filesystem on /dev/sda instead of /dev/sda1.) No worries about partitioning problems then. I did this on a 3 TB array.

Mac OS X (1)

Akido37 (1473009) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238272)

If the problem is BIOS-related, or a legacy of DOS, or both, does this mean it will work fine on Mac OS X? All new Macs use EFI, and OS X Snow Leopard is a 64-bit OS.

Re:Mac OS X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32238378)

My thought exactly. Macintosh already has EFI and GPT. Snow Leopard is pure 64bit. What is really going to hurt is when 48bit memory addressing ceases to be adequate.

Re:Mac OS X (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238598)

What is really going to hurt is when 48bit memory addressing ceases to be adequate.

at which point your computer will be ungodly slow because of memory bus width and caching needs, running on a 200THz processor and getting speeds similar to your old 200MHz 586.

We know cache will get bigger though. Back in the day we had 32MB of RAM (64MB for my awesome system) and a whopping 256K of cache in some high-end systems. Now we have 4GB of RAM (at least, I do) and a whole 2MB of cache (4MB in some systems). Memory's gotten 128 times bigger, and cache got 16 times bigger to compensate; die space will of course get less limited when we get more cores and tighter process, and some magical technology will allow us to have at least 32MB of total shared L2 cache for our 16 core chips running with 128TB of RAM.

Re:Mac OS X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32238894)

So was the machine obsolete because Apple stopped supporting old legacy stuff, or was it obsolete because of memory bus width and caching needs?

Re:Mac OS X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32238724)

My thought exactly. Macintosh already has EFI and GPT. Snow Leopard is pure 64bit. What is really going to hurt is when 48bit memory addressing ceases to be adequate.

Snow Leopard do have a 64-bit kernel option, but you need to enable it yourself, it is running 32-bit by default. http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-10320314-37.html [cnet.com]

Re:Mac OS X (4, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238464)

Everything works on Mac, because Apple doesn't support legacy stuff. They assume any Mac older than ~5 years is obsolete, and therefore moved to 64-bit addressing long ago.

(No I'm not trolling. I'm bitter. I had to toss a perfectly good Mac G4, just because Apple stopped supporting it, and its ancient Safari 2 browser could no longer render the web properly.)

Re:Mac OS X (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238522)

Correction:

>>>I had to [sell] a perfectly good Mac G4

Re:Mac OS X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32238834)

Oh noes! Perfectly good moneys! ^_^

Re:Mac OS X (3, Insightful)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238778)

Safari 3.0.4 runs on 10.4.x
Safari 4 runs on 10.5+

What G4 do you have that you can't install leopard on? I shoehorned Tiger onto an ancient G3 iMac from 2000, surely you can install leopard on a fairly recent G4, and if you can't you could have tried this http://lowendmac.com/osx/leopard/openfirmware.html [lowendmac.com]

Perhaps you simply wanted a new Mac?

Re:Mac OS X (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32238802)

therefore moved to 64-bit addressing long ago.

By "long ago", you mean in their very latest OS release in late 2009? Despite their opportunity several years ago to make a clean break from 32-bit when they switched to Intel, they didn't do that. They supported your legacy hardware and software for years. Linux and BSD should still work fine on a G4, even though it's about eight years old.

Re:Mac OS X (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32238832)

You have no right to be bitter. The sweet fruits of The Walled Garden come at a price.

Re:Mac OS X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32238864)

That sounds bad. I had always heard such good reviews about the Mac products, I almost went into buying one for myself.
-Salil
http://www.parasitech.net/

3TB - that's all you'll ever need! (2, Funny)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238274)

I can see the reviews coming in now stating that "3 terabytes is all you'll ever need to store your documents and information."

Re:3TB - that's all you'll ever need! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32238338)

As far as text documents, 1GB is far more than I'd ever need. For artsy digital drawings, something closer to 100GB would probably be appropriate. I'm very happy with my 2TB drives holding my gaggles of movies and music, but even those are filling up.

Re:3TB - that's all you'll ever need! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32238916)

Do you really need *that* much detail in your drawings of penises? Seriously.

Re:3TB - that's all you'll ever need! (4, Funny)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238580)

Yes, "documents".

Re:3TB - that's all you'll ever need! (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238870)

10 of these in a RAID 6+0 would yield 12 TB of fairly fault tolerant storage and would be enough to store about 500 BluRay movies, or about half my porn collection...

Re:3TB - that's all you'll ever need! (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238972)

Or would that be 9TB?

XP + 3 TB?? (2, Insightful)

DinZy (513280) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238284)

Why would anyone running XP fork over the dough for a 3TB HDD? XP is 9 years old and Win7 is a very good replacement for newer machines, particularly ones who's owners might want a 3TB drive for.

Re:XP + 3 TB?? (2, Insightful)

psbrogna (611644) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238438)

Win7 is NOT replacement for XP if drivers for your hardware aren't available for Win7 & this often the case.

Re:XP + 3 TB?? (0, Troll)

drachenstern (160456) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238586)

Perhaps you missed his comment "for newer machines"? If you're running XP on machines/devices older than 18 mos, then yeah, you probably wouldn't benefit. You could also purchase 1-2TB drives for upgrades, and by the time you have a _need_ for 3+ TB HDD, then you should be able/ready to upgrade to Win7 or later.

Now stop trolling.

Re:XP + 3 TB?? (3, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238618)

tried win7. failed right out of the box (did not connect to my freebsd and linux samba servers). took a lot of reading and some reg tweaks and still could not get it to work. all the rest of the gear in my net works fine in my samba network (popcorn hour media streamer, mac osx, winxp, linux, bsd). ALL but win7. funny, that.

I gave up and deinstalled win7 and went back to xp. my network is whole again.

when they 'fixed' smb on win7, they broke my whole network (for all pract. purposes). it took too much effort to find what was wrong (might be winbind since I don't run that for my other clients but win7 may need it); but I was not, after hours and hours, able to get it working.

tell me again how wonderful win7 is? when I can't even get a working network of samba systems to connect to win7?

that was enough to fail the test for me. a bunch of others, too, I'm sure, since win7 is notorious (and vista too) for doing this.

Re:XP + 3 TB?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32238722)

I really don't see why anyone would want that large of a drive on a WinXP machine anyway. For a desktop machine, I rarely even need more than 200-300 GB and anything else is stored on a linux server (thats where the 3 TB drive might go).

Unless you're doing video editing or something, but then I believe its more about speed than space.

Perhaps someone can enlighten me.

2.1TB is large enough for anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32238288)

Those bastards! now how am I going to store those holo-DVD isos of porn I got. 294mb/s video ain't small you know. I can see the individual pores and train tracks if I zoom in really close!

Re:2.1TB is large enough for anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32238910)

mb/s = millibit/sec, so
294 mb/s = 0.036 Bytes/sec. (more or less) (294/1000/8)

Might want to look at your capitalization, since mb ~= MB ~= Mb ~= mB.

And if it is really at 294 mb/s, what resolution are you watching?....

Not a huge deal (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32238340)

FTFA:

According to Seagate, this includes the 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and Vista, as well as modified versions of Linux, but it doesn’t include Windows XP. Not only that, but you may not even be able to see 2.1TB of a 3TB drive when using Windows XP.

Sure, Windows XP won't allow it - but your grandmother who is still running XP isn't going out to buy a 3 TB drive. The early adopters who want or need this are the ones who are already running a compatible OS.

Takes me back... (2, Funny)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238356)

I had a sudden and vivid memory of the little blue ASCII box displayed by the special Western Digital bootloader I needed to bypass my old BIOS's 2GB drive size limit.

Re:Takes me back... (3, Funny)

jspayne (98716) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238668)

I remember upgrading systems from DOS 3.3 to 4.0 to support larger than 32Mb hard drives. Now get off of my lawn!

Re:Takes me back... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32238820)

low level formating 8mb rll and mfm drives anyone? Or tape systems? 30min audio cassettes on my c-64 to save game programs typed in form RUN magazine...
3tb is huge. I am only using about 15 mb to store my personal documents. Music, I will have to pass on that storage, I just stream it.

Re:Takes me back... (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238912)

lawns? you had lawns?

So maybe they could (0, Redundant)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238400)

Design a SATA controller that allows one physical 4.2TB drive to be presented as two 2.1TB disks, behind a SATA port multiplier.

Then it's simple... plug your HD in... OS sees two drives, but you have 4TB of storage, once your volume manager does its thing and carves a single 4TB volume out of two LUNs.

Re:So maybe they could (1)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238590)

Not this. I don't want my single 4TB drive being split in half then recombined in Windows! I want a solid 4TB.. The more places the data is manipulated, the more places a fault can exist. I want to be able to pull the drive out and stick it in another computer without worrying about what hardware is needed unless the benefits exceed the complexity addition (a hardware RAID will be tied to the hardware, but you get massive speed increases). With this "multiplier", what do you gain? Nothing. So why not fix the problem rather than putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound...

Re:So maybe they could (2, Insightful)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238784)

Yes, let's design and manipulate an entire standard in order to work around a problem based entirely on the fact that people won't upgrade. And then you just need them to buy this and upgrade their compu...

waaaaaaaaaaaaaait a second.

Everything old is new again. And again. And again. (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238468)

Maybe you could make multiple partitions, rather than treat the whole disk as a single partition?

Re:Everything old is new again. And again. And aga (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238616)

It's not a filesystem problem, it's an LBA problem.

Re:Everything old is new again. And again. And aga (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238626)

The problem isn't so much the partition size limitation. It's a problem that the partition schema (fdisk [wikipedia.org] in this case?) can't describe the entire drive (partition layout) of that size.

I suppose they need to be using GPT [wikipedia.org] at this point.

The problem is probably a combination of (1) too many blocks on the drive, and/or nonstandard block sizes. (1024/2048/4096 instead of 512 byte) - one or the other has to increase to grow the size of the device. There's been a lot of noise lately about OSs that won't like drives that ship with nonstandard (greater than 512 byte) block sizes. Of course for anyone to consider 512 as the only 'standard size' nowadays for block sizes, those are the people that are part of the problem.

Legacy be damned. (1, Interesting)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238472)

The problem lies with fat32. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_Allocation_Table [wikipedia.org]

Fat32 has other problems but the real issue here is volume size. Easy to overcome, just partition the drive. (I think I remember doing the same thing to 1.2GB drives too and fat16.)

Besides SSD/flash that is used in camera/mp3 players/camcorders, why would anybody be using fat32 on a drive that massive? Common file access on dual/tri boot computers can be an issue, but folks smart enough to do that are smart enough to build a file-server.

Some legacy components are wonderful because they "just work" (ps/2 vs USB). But trying to shoehorn a new tech into an old standard just leads to problems.

One other issue with this announcement; why did they bother with 3TB? Should the next step be 4TB? We are counting in binary are we not?

Re:Legacy be damned. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32238582)

Because this way they can sell you 4TB drives in 18 months, and save money on R&D?
Yes, really.

Re:Legacy be damned. (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238656)

Ah, the joy of a really long defrag! And should we use file compression?

Re:Legacy be damned. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32238666)

Whoever modded parent informative should peel back one layer lower in abstraction [wikipedia.org] . After all, how can you partition your drive beyond 2 TiB if you can't describe any start sector beyond that? There's nothing stopping anyone from putting a whole mess of 2 GiB Fat32 partitions with 32K cluster sizes given that the whole drive used GPT instead.

Re:Legacy be damned. (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238708)

While it's true that FAT32 with 4K cluster size is limited to 2TB, Windows XP defaults to NTFS which can go MUCH higher than 100TB.
 
LBA also uses 4K sectors, and that's how the BIOS and Windows address the disk. That's as high as you can go with the current implementation of LBA and it goes much deeper than partitioning.

Re:Legacy be damned. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32238730)

> One other issue with this announcement; why did they bother with 3TB? Should the next step be 4TB? We are counting in binary are we not?

Because three (3 decimal, 11 binary) comes after two (2 decimal, 10 binary) whether you are counting in binary or decimal.

(And for many other bases as well. Works for positive integral bases, and non-integral bases where the real component of the base is three or larger. E.g., works for base (pi + e*i) but not for base (e + pi*i).)

Re:Legacy be damned. (3, Interesting)

pz (113803) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238750)

We are counting in binary are we not?

Not when it comes to disk drives. The total storage in a spinning media drive is based on the number of platter sides used, which can range from 1 to 6 (or perhaps 8 ... does anyone still use four platters?), the areal density of storage on the surface, and how much of the surface is devoted to spare tracks to cover for manufacturing defects (and probably other factors I'm forgetting). None of these are based on powers of two phenomena.

Re:Legacy be damned. (3, Informative)

krnpimpsta (906084) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238758)

One other issue with this announcement; why did they bother with 3TB? Should the next step be 4TB? We are counting in binary are we not?

No, we are not. We may count in binary for memory, but it's different for physical hard drives with spinning disks. For these, we count in platters (the actual physical disk(s) spinning in the drive).

Hard drives typically have somewhere between 1 to 4 platters. Drives with more platters exist, but they're less common.
Common platter sizes: 500GB, 375GB, 333G, 250GB

I didn't RTFA (this is slashdot, come on), but I'm guessing what Seagate really did was come out with a 750GB platter, that can be used to produce a 3GB drive with 4 of those platters. You'll probably see the 4TB drive you want when they come out with a 1TB platter.

How long can the growth last? (4, Interesting)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238528)

I'm aware that hard disk capacity follows a trend similar to Moore's law in that capacity roughly doubles every two years or thereabouts, but much like the CPU industry, does anyone know how far into the future magnetic storage will continue to scale at that pace? Even though solid state drives are becoming more affordable and the performance issues are being ironed out, when magnetic storage is only $70 / TB, it's hard to pass up. I'm just interested in how much longer we can expect to see capacity gains like this.

Is there anyone who currently works in that area or has a background in magnetic storage who has a better idea?

Re:How long can the growth last? (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238664)

Without multi-core, Moore's law would have ended recently. Seagate has taken that design philosophy to heart and will soon be releasing 7" and 10.5" drives to meet demand.

Re:How long can the growth last? (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238840)

Without multi-core, Moore's law would have ended recently.

Since Moore's law is about the number of transistors on a die and nothing to do with performance (except to the extent that more transistors allows higher performance), multiple cores are irrelevant: we could be running Pentium-4s with 16MB of cache instead of hexa-cores with 12MB of cache and Moore's Law would be just as valid.

Re:How long can the growth last? (1)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238848)

While I'm sure you meant that in jest, with the current popularity of external drives, increasing physical form factor actually could be an option in the market.

Re:How long can the growth last? (1)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238908)

No, Moore's is still valid. It proposes that transistor count on IC double around 18 months. Dose not impose anything on clock rate or core count on a single die.

Moore's law is also unrelated to mass storage.

Technically, hard drives are a very different problem domain.

Re:How long can the growth last? (1, Interesting)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238814)

I think we're coming close to the limits now. I've heard that there's already interference in the data tracks from the other nearby tracks' magnetic fields, and to make it much smaller will need some advances in error checking/correction.

Re:How long can the growth last? (4, Insightful)

kimvette (919543) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238858)

I'm just interested in how much longer we can expect to see capacity gains like this.

Do you know how long that question has been asked, and how many times "theoretical limits" would be reached within a year at the current rate, and each time, new techniques have been developed which increase density many times more than anyone previously imagined? I think storage density will be increasing for that much longer.

15 years ago when you were paying $500 for a 320MB hard drive, did you ever anticipate your home PC would someday have a capacity of multiple terabytes? Could you imagine that a laptop would ever be able to hold over a terabyte? The capacity we have nowadays is staggering, and when back when you had your 320MB to 512MB hard drive and were thinking "I'll never fill this up" only a few were bothering with MP3s and PVR technologies (I bought my first video capture/TV tuner card around that time) and I'll bet few ever fathomed that a user could fill terabytes' worth of hard drives. Now it's cheap to build home recording studios, or even engage in amateur independent movie production with only a few hundred dollars' worth of equipment, running free software.

It's amazing, and with storage capacity growth increasing (not decreasing) we'll find new ways to fill up the storage media, very likely doing things we haven't anticipated even today.

Re:How long can the growth last? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32238978)

I remember a BBS around 1993-94 that's claim to fame was that it had a gigabyte of files. A whole gigabyte!!!

Re:How long can the growth last? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238862)

It is already over now, to put more data onto a magnetic HD you add more platters or increase the radius, that's all.

Re:How long can the growth last? (1)

Singularity42 (1658297) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238888)

There's a few, like bit patterning. Perpendicular storage will run out soon, and we'll go onto the next paradigm.

Re:How long can the growth last? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32238890)

I'm just interested in how much longer we can expect to see capacity gains like this.

The beauty of Moore's law is - nobody said the technology has to stay the same. Running out of miniaturization options on silicon? Go 3D, or use something else. Or go multi-core. Running out of single-platter magnetic storage space? Who said storage had to be magnetic? Go use flash drives, or have an elephant memorize your bits. With such technology, the growth can still last for quite a while.

Re:How long can the growth last? (1)

Muerte23 (178626) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238974)

While CPU power seems to double every 18 months or so, for the past (almost) 20 years hard drive size has doubled every 14 months*. Eventually hard drives will be so large that CPUs will never be able to access all the information. I guess then the key is being able to find the information you want to access, which is why I suppose it would be good to buy GOOG even now.

* 40 MB in 1991, 3 TB in 2010. This trend has held true at many points in between.

640 teras should be enough for everyone (1)

youn (1516637) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238570)

for now :)

seriously standard designer know those limits are going to crop up... and that applies to hard disk space as well as ram. why can't they design around those limits where the limit would be variable. some people say it will waste some space/ cause performance problems... not necessarily.

Re:640 teras should be enough for everyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32238726)

seriously standard designer know those limits are going to crop up... why can't they design around those limits where the limit would be variable

Because it's 'good practice' not to solve a problem until it's a problem. Introducing extra complexity into a system before it's required can just make things more difficult when there eventually is a problem to solve and it wasn't the one you thought it would be. First you have to unpick the futureproofing you put in at the start, then you have to fix your current problem.

Long live XP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32238596)

XP will support hard driver bigger than 2tb
>In order to use disks larger than 2TiB on Windows XP, it is necessary to use 4096-byte logical sectors in an MBR.
see http://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/torvalds/linux-2.6.git;a=commitdiff;h=3fbf586cf7f245392142e5407c2a56f1cff979b6

Can we move on? (1)

holiggan (522846) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238602)

Why can't we just move on and apply the sweet R&D money on the SSDs?

I guess that the "classic" hard drives will reach some sort of physical limit sometime in the (not so distant) future.

Why won't the big boys start to work hard on the SSDs?

It's almost as reading a headline like this "New awesome floppies will be released in a new 10 MB size! - 'USB flash disks are overrated and expensive, nothing beats a good old floppy disk' a spokesperson for a floppy disk manufacturer said"

Re:Can we move on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32238748)

Why can't we just move on and apply the sweet R&D money on the SSDs?

Because until the SSD researchers figure out how to make their drives larger and cheaper, their cost/GB is still laughably bad.

Re:Can we move on? (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238790)

"Why can't we just move on and apply the sweet R&D money on the SSDs?"

We already are spending money on SSD's, just because you can afford them doesn't mean everyone or every business needs them. It's a simple cost benefit analysis.

Re:Can we move on? (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238800)

Probably because "the big boys" in HDD manufacture have basically nothing interesting to bring to the SSD table(other than, possibly, some fairly generic interface patents). With the possible exception of HDD r/w head manufacture, which has gotten more chip-fab like as sizes and tolerances have gotten more demanding, the manufacturing methods for the two types of drive are basically nothing alike.

Even the controller/controller firmware design isn't all that similar. HDD controllers have the task of extracting useful digital data from the ever fainter and denser analog magnetic fields on the platter. SSD controllers basically spend their time papering over the fact that Flash has highly asymmetric read/write behavior.

Unless they fancy the idea of trying to recast themselves as semiconductor companies all of a sudden, the HDD guys are doing pretty much the most sensible thing available to them: running like hell in the direction of capacities that SSDs can't touch for less than a king's ransom.

Re:Can we move on? (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238828)

For the same reason that we haven't all been using Fibre Channel drives for the last 10 years; just because there's something "faster" available doesn't mean that it's good value for money.

I'm quite happy with my cheap & slowish 1Tb magnetic drives for large amounts of infrequently accessed data and don't really want to spend multiple times that for sub-ms access times. Yes, eventually SSDs will probably overtake magnetic storage simply because they have the potential to outdo them in the capacity stakes, but it'll be quite some time before multi-Tb SSDs are affordable by the average user no matter how much the manufacturers push them.

Re:Can we move on? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238898)

I guess that the "classic" hard drives will reach some sort of physical limit sometime in the (not so distant) future.

I believe you'll find that SSDs are closer to their physical limits than hard drives are at this point, though both are likely to hit those limits before long; as I understand it flash memory isn't expected to scale down more than another two or three generations of transistor size.

And there are far more people willing to spend $200 on a 3TB hard drive than there are willing to spend $200 on an 80GB SSD.

Re:Can we move on? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238964)

Probably because traditional hard disks are still the cheapest and the largest and not by a small margin either. At some point they'll get to the point where they've done all they can, but the size of the HDD at this point is so far ahead of what most people need that it won't be for quite a while that we need something better.

use a 64-bit OS and GUID disk partitioning (3, Informative)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238788)

You need to be able to use larger than 32-bit block addresses. This is possible since the LBA spec uses 48-bit addresses. But the internals of some OSes use only 32-bit block addresses. The solution to this is to use a 64-bit OS. That allows 48-bit addresses (and then some).

Another other problem is that the MBR disk partitioning scheme uses 32-bit block addresses, so you can't partition a disk larger than 2TB. But the answer to this is to use GUID disk partitioning.

Finally there's your BIOS, it probably only supports MBR and 32-bit LBA. GUID disk partitioning supports making your disk look like an MBR disk so you can boot off it. You'll have to boot off a partition that starts within the first 2TB of the disk, but other than that you should be okay. Just make sure to never use any tools that think your disk is an MBR disk when you are repartitioning it or otherwise accessing it directly.

Windows 7 (or Vista) 64-bit supports >32-bit LBA and GUID disk partitioning.

And then finally hope you don't get any nasty viruses that try to go around the OS to access the disk (so as not to be detected) and mess it up when the calculations overflow 32 bits.

Microsoft is overjoyed (0, Flamebait)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238804)

Microsoft is positively giddy with its anticipation of this turnover, since it will finally force those stubborn Windows XP 32-bit holdouts to tuck their tails and fork over the bucks for Windows 7. Microsoft chose not to release patches that would update the filesystem of XP 32-bit to recognize GPT disks; that capability, much like RAM greater than 4GB, is arbitrarily restricted by license to XP 64-bit, Windows Server, and later releases.

Re:Microsoft is overjoyed (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32238906)

...Because we all know that everyone is going to get 3 TB of space?

Most people can't even fill a 500 GB disk even with all the music they love, their photos and a few movies. Granted, if you digitize -everything- torrent -massive- amounts of music and want lots and lots of HD movies, you might fill one of these disks, however, the number of people who would say "oh, I'm now switching to Windows 7" is low because most of the time people would either A) partition it and put it on a NAS box or B) upgrade to a different OS
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