Seagate announces 1TB hard drive

Seagate jumps into the 1 terabyte hard drive fray with its Barracuda 7200.11, announced Monday and due to ship in the third quarter of 2007. The company is second-to-market with a single drive that pakcs 1TB of storage; rival Hitachi came out in the spring.

According to Seagate, the new 7200.11 series drives--available in 500GB, 750GB, and 1TB capacities--make several technology improvements. Foremost among the improvements: the drives feature increased areal density per disk platter. This means Seagate can achieve 1TB with four platters instead of five (as Hitachi does with its Deskstar 7K1000 drive). "We feel that five disks is a less reliable way to get more capacity, because it involves more moving parts," says Seagate product manager Melissa Johnson. Other reasons Johnson cites include the greater power consumption and heat generated by five platters, as compared with the four found in Seagate's drives.

Among the new 7200.11 series' other technological boosts is faster speeds. "It has the highest sustained data rate we've ever achieved on our desktop products--105MB/s," says Johnson. "The bits are packed more densely than before, because we also have a higher areal density than we did before--250GB per disk. This in turn gives us the higher sustained data rate."

The 7200.11 is Seagate's second-generation 3.5-inch drive using perpendicular magnetic recording; the company's first, the 750GB 7200.10, was a top performer when it debuted a year ago.

That this is Seagate's second-generation technology is important, according to Johnson. "Our second-generation perpendicular recording enables this drive to not only be better performing drive, but also more power thrifty. It's the industry's best on acoustics and power consumption. The bits are packed more densely, which enables the acoustics to drop more, as well as the power."

The 7200.11 series sports a new set of heads and disks, which help reduce the acoustics. A 250GB, single-platter version of the drive shipped in May. The drives' quiet, power-efficient mechanism carry specs of just 2.7 decibels when idle (2.9 decibels when seeking); power consumption is pegged at 8 watts idle, and 11.6 watts seek.

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