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Hitachi GST joins 2TB Club

And then there were three

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The 2TB hard drive club just got its third member, with Hitachi GST joining Western Digital and Seagate. Pretty soon desktop PC cred will demand a 2TB spinner.

The 7200rpm Deskstar 7K2000 3.5-inch drive a 32MB cache and a 3Gbit/s SATA II link to its host PC. There are five platters, which means Hitachi GST has not achieved the 500GB/platter areal density level with its iteration of perpendicular magnetic recording technology for this drive. Indeed the company tries to make a virtue of this by saying the drive has a "relaxed bit density" of 292Gbits/sq in.

Oddly though, Hitachi GST is also refreshing its high-volume desktop hard drive family with a new 7200 RPM Deskstar 7K1000.C family which will deliver 160GB to 1TB capacities using a density of 500GB per platter, meaning 352Gbits/sq in. So, people will be asking, why is Hitachi GST delivering a 5-platter 2TB model, with "a relaxed bit density" and 2-platter 1TB model - soon - with 500GB/platter density?

The apparently obvious reason is that it needed a 7200rpm 2TB model now, for retail shelf visibility perhaps, and to pip WD's 2TB Caviar Black, and the 500GB/platter density wasn't ready for prime production time. So it had to bite the extra expense and go with a 5-platter, 5-head product, using older PMR technology than is used in the 1TB Deskstar 7K1000.C. How very annoying for the folks at Hitachi GST.

The 2TB Deskstar will be positioned as a fast and capacious drive for people with data-rich PC environments, such as gamers.

Hitachi GST's 2TB product will compete with Seagate's 5900rpm 2TB Barracuda LP drive, where it should have a speed edge, and against WD's 5400 2TB Caviar Green and its expected 7200rpm 2TB Caviar Black.

For now Hitachi GST is the 2TB desktop drive speed king and will remain so until WD's 2TB Caviar Black surfaces.

On the green front Hitachi GST says the 2TB Deskstar offers 10 per cent idle power savings - it needs 7.5 watts - over previous generations, and on a watt-per-GB basis, idle power has improved more than 120 per cent. Bet that fifth platter and head drive the power requirements up.

The Deskstar 7K1000.C is expected to use 4.4 watts or less idle power, which is the best there is when compared to current generation desktop drives.

The Deskstar 7K2000 is available from tomorrow and will be priced around $329. There is no information on Deskstar 7K1000.C availability or pricing.

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