Seagate, one of the world’s most popular manufacturers of storage solutions, just announced that it will soon be releasing the world’s first 3TB hard drive. This will be one of the first high capacity hard drives to be released as an external HDD first, instead of as an internal HDD. It will be available as part of the FreeAgentGoFlex Desk line.
To develop the 3TB external hard drive, Seagate did not increase platter density, but instead, managed to overcome the master boot record partition table problem, which limited recipient systems from recognizing more than 2TB for 512 sectors. Now, using the new GUID partition table that modern operating systems such as Windows Vista/7/OSX/Linux recognize, Seagate were able to break that 2TB barrier. The GUID partition table has a hard limit of 8 zettabytes for 512 sectors.
So, you’ll say, this won’t work on XP? Well, Seagate managed to bypass that problem as well, by using larger 4KB sectors, letting high capacity drives fit within MBR partition tables, while wasting lesser bytes as headers for each sector.
This might seem like the perfect solution, except when one considers that XP would not be aware that of the newer 4KB sectors, as it is expecting 512-byte sectors, and might divide the between sectors. Seagate worked around this problem as well, by using “SmartAlign technology” to ensure all data fits discretely into the 4K sectors, even on Windows XP.
The FreeAgent GoFlex Desk is available for about $250, and will ship with a USB 2.0 interface, and USB 3.0/FireWire 800 adapters will be available for an additional $40-50.