Western Digital is the first to release a 2 terabyte hard drive.

In the ongoing race to give you ever increasing room to store all your pirated music, movies, and Internet porn the folks at Western Digital have just announced the world’s first “Green” 2TB consumer level hard drive:

“While some in the industry wondered if the end consumer would buy a 1 TB drive, already some 10 percent of 3.5-inch hard drive sales are at the 1 TB level or higher, serving demand from video applications and expanding consumer media libraries,” said Mark Geenen, President of Trend Focus. “The 2 TB hard drives will continue to satisfy end user’s insatiable desire to store more data on ever larger hard drives.”

[…] “Saving power without sacrificing storage capacity is what consumers want, and what many businesses are requiring today. With the launch of the new WD Caviar Green 2 TB hard drive, customers receive the additional capacities needed to operate today’s highly advanced programs and high-resolution digital files while using less power than typical drives with similar performance and capacities,” said Jim Morris, WD senior vice president and general manager of client systems.

The initial price is set at around $299, which is a tad high when you consider you can pick up a pair of 1TB hard drives for around a $100 less. Newegg.com has 1TBs from Samsung and Hitachi selling for $94.99 and I’ve seen sales put them in the $80 range. Presumably it won’t be long before the other manufacturers have 2TB models out and the prices start to drop just as quickly. This could mean we’ll see 1TB drive selling for well under $100 within the next year or so if current trends continue.

For someone like me who can remember running an old BBS on his Commodore 64 with four SFD 1001 disk drives through an IEEE interface card for a whopping 4.02 MB of storage it’s amazing to think that 1TB drives are not only a reality, but fairly affordable. I can remember the amazement I had later when I ran the BBS on my Amiga and managed to borrow one of the first 1GB hard drives for storage. The damn thing was so big I couldn’t fit it inside the Amiga 2000 I was using and I had to run a cable out of the back of the machine to the drive sitting on anti-static foam on the desk next to the computer. Every time the drive was accessed it would bounce around like a Mexican jumping bean. Hell, the hard drive in the Compaq Presario 4712 PC I bought in 1996, the one and only pre-built Windows PC I’ve ever bought, only had a 2.5GB hard drive in it. Two terabytes in a single hard drive is amazing to me.

The hard disk you’ve been waiting for!

Oh yes, I can remember those bygone days when this was what we geeks lusted for:

Click to embiggen!

Found over at BB Gadgets.

The Tech Report takes Hitachi’s new 1 Terabyte hard drive for a spin.

We’ve been able to have over 1 terabyte of hard drive space in our personal computers for awhile now by doubling up on 500GB or higher hard drives, but this is still a milestone as it’s the first consumer level hard drive to lay claim to being a terabyte in a single drive. The folks over at The Tech Report got their hands on one to test it out, but first they discussed the age-old problem of when a terabyte isn’t really a terabyte:

By now I’ve no doubt been heckled by someone insisting that the 7K1000 doesn’t actually offer a full terabyte of storage capacity. This person probably sounds like the comic book guy from The Simpsons, but don’t dismiss him. He has a point, sort of.

According to the International System of Units (SI), a terabyte consists of 1,000,000,000,000 bytes—10004, or 1012.  Windows confirms that the 7K1000 delivers 1,000,202,240,000 bytes, which is more than it needs, so what’s the comic book guy on about?

Look a little closer, and you’ll see that while the 7K1000 does indeed offer over a trillion bytes, that capacity only translates to 931 gigabytes.  For an explanation of why, we have to delve into the always exciting world of numerical systems.  SI units are built on the same base 10 decimal system we’ve been using since grade school.  Computers, however, use a binary base 2 system.  So, while a kilobyte in decimal is 1,000 bytes, a kilobyte in binary translates to 1,024 bytes.  A binary terabyte, then, is not 1,0004, but 1,0244, or 240.

Multiplying that out, a binary terabyte yields 1,099,511,627,776 bytes, which is why the 7K1000 falls short of a thousand gigabytes. The drive would actually need 1,024 gigabytes to achieve terabyte status in the binary world. This translation problem isn’t unique to the 7K1000, either. Virtually all hard drives advertise their capacities in SI units, so their actual capacities fall short of binary expectations.

The discrepancy between the stated size on the box and what you actually see once it’s installed in your PC has been the source of grumbling for years now, but really hasn’t come to a head. I suspect, however, that with the gap being what amounts to what was once a hard drive unto itself (69GB) that said grumbling may grow a little louder as capacities—and the associated gap—continue to increase.

But that’s being nitpicky. The real question is how well does the drive perform? According to the folks at TR it performs pretty well, but not so well as to justify its price compared to some of the smaller, smaller being a relative term here, and cheaper drives such as the Western Digital 750GB Caviar SE16. This is particularly important when you consider that you’re probably going to want two drives to set up a mirrored RAID array in case one of the drives fail because 931GB is a lot of data to lose to a hard drive failure.

Still, kudos to Hitachi for being the first on the market with a hard drive that us old timers once only dreamed of. I won’t be getting one anytime soon as I’m still finding I have plenty of room on the measly little 320GB hard drive in my current machine, but with the impending release of Windows Home Server it may not be that far off in the future that I’m looking for lots of storage space.