OMG! 3 TB Hard Drives!

Posted on May 20, 2010 at 6:05 pm by Donna Warren

Seagate recently announced that it has a 3TB hard drive that it is introducing both SAS and SATA versions of its new 3TB hard drive as part of it enterprise-class Constellation ES family.  That would make them the industry’s largest storage devices. The current ES drives stop at 2TB. At least one model will come with a built-in flash memory to eliminate the need for a separate SSD drive in mobile PCs. The new drives are reported to have a 6GB/second SATA interface.

Seagate is also releasing a 2.5 inch hybrid drive with both a spinning hard drive for storage and flash memory to boot the computer. While it is reportedly only available up to 500GB with 4GBs of flash memory and USB 3.0 and eSATA interfaces.

Can Anyone Use these Drives?

That is the problem. At the moment there is a 2.1TB Logical Block Limit (LBA) on hard drive capacity. What that means is that today’s operating systems, BIOS controllers, hard drive controllers and device drivers cannot support a 3TB drive.

If you want to use a 3TB drive before the rest of the industry modifies their systems, you will need to use a PC with the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, as opposed to the legacy PC BIOS currently in use. However, some raid controllers can handle 3TB drives so if your motherboard has a RAID controller that can handle the drive, you can use it as soon as it is available.


Until the vendors develop drivers that can make use of the extra storage capacity you will not be able to boot from the 3TB drive or use its full capacity.

Barbara Craig, a senior product marketing manager at Seagate called for, “the industry to adopt Long LBA (LLBA) as a way to allow access to drive capacities of over 2.1 TBs. If high capacities are in your future, I highly recommend you check with your software and hardware suppliers on their plans for implementing Long LBAs today,”

OK Vendors, you heard the lady, develop the device drivers needed so we can use these new drives.

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