Seagate drops the world's largest tiny hard drive

Seagate pushes the 2.5-inch drive needle all the way to 5TB.

Hard drives might take a back seat to SSD's when it comes to sex appeal, but when it comes to space on the cheap, Seagate’s BarraCuda line will turn heads.

Seagate on Tuesday announced two new BarraCuda drives—one of which now holds the record for being the largest-capacity 2.5-inch drive.

The BarraCuda ST5000 pushes the capacity limit from the previous 4TB to 5TB, and will be priced around $85. Seagate says the drive uses the company’s 1TB-per-platter design that it unveiled at CES in January 2016. The same drive is also available in 4TB and 3TB models.

All are 5,400rpm drives with 128MB of cache and a two-year warranty. Power consumption is rated at 2.1 watts under load and 1.1 watts while idle.

Before you consider putting one of these in your laptop, know that the 5TB, 4TB, and 3TB BarraCuda drives are 15mm thick. While they might squeeze into some larger gaming laptops, their primary target is superthin all-in-ones that can’t accommodate full-size 3.5-inch desktop drives.

Seagate also announced a new 5,400rpm BarraCuda ST2000LM015 drive that conforms to the smaller 7mm standard used by many laptops. Unfortunately, that drive doesn’t move the ball any further down the field, maxing out at 2TB.

That’s one area where hard drive makers seem to be losing to SSD makers, which don’t have to contend with as many mechanical limitations. Samsung, in fact, holds the record for the largest consumer SATA drive with its 4TB 850 Evo SSD that fits into a 7mm case.

Of course, when it comes to value, there's no question: Samsung's 4TB SSD is about $1,400. The 7mm 2TB BarraCuda is about $55, Seagate officials say.

Why this matters: People say hard drives are dead but if for folks who want to get the most capacity for the least amount of cash, they’re still very much alive.

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Gordon Mah Ung

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