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Mighty 4 Terabyte whopper crashes down on the desktop

Three platters piled high with Caviar for data gobblers

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WD has released a 4TB desktop drive, an extension of its Caviar desktop range, now branded the WD Black.

As with previous versions, it comes in a 3.5-inch form factor, rotates five platters at 7,200rpm, has a 64MB cache and a 6Gbit/s SATA interface. It carries over technologies like the dual-stage actuator head from the previous versions - which is like an arm with both an elbow and a wrist joint for more precise positioning of the read/write head.

WD has added dual processors to the system and there may be an element of laying the ground for hybrid disk drives here, the ones with a flash cache.

The company's disk products include 4TB nearline drives, RE SAS and RE SATA, both spinning at 7,200rpm, and announced in September. These have five 800GB platters. Toshiba's 3.5-inch line maxes out at 3TB. No doubt 4TB is on its roadmap.

What about the desktop drive competition? Seagate's Constellation ES.3 tops out at 4TB and has a 6Gbit/s SAS or SATA interface.

Hitachi GST, the WD subsidiary, has a 4TB Deskstar 5K4000, spinning at 5,400-5,900rpm - but the company is coy about the rest of the specs. It has 4 X 1TB platters and a 32MB cache plus the standard 6 gig SATA interface.

The WD Black 4TB GB hard drives, with capacities ranging from 500G to 4TB, are available through WD's channel now, with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $339.00 and at £239.50 in the UK, a cost averaging out to around $10/GB - or a cent for a megabyte. ®

Updated to add

An earlier version of this story incorrectly claimed that the 4TB drive has three platters. In fact, it has five.

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