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6/29/2010
05:10 PM
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3TB Hard Drives (Sort Of) Hit The Street

The biggest hard disk on the market just got a lot bigger.

The biggest hard disk on the market just got a lot bigger.Today, Seagate did exactly what everyone thought the company would do: It announced the world's first 3TB hard disk. And at just $250 -- or about 8 cents per GB -- it's actually quite competitive with even 1TB drives.

Here's the catch: As I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago, the BIOS on almost any PC in use today can't use a disk this big as a startup device. We're finally bumping up against a level of storage capacity that the original BIOS architects simply couldn't imagine 30 years ago.

That's why the FreeAgent GoFlexDesk (I hope Seagate didn't actually pay someone to think up that name) is available only as an external drive. There's simply no point in making it available as an internal drive at this point, because too many people will try to use it as a startup disk -- a tech-support nightmare that the company is understandably eager to avoid.

So for now, you'll have to access your mega-sized storage via a goofy little USB 2.0 interface (or, for an extra $40-$50, a faster USB 3.0 or FireWire connection).

Don't Miss: NEW! Storage How-To Center

I suppose a Mac user could crack open the enclosure and try to use the drive as a startup disk -- your system's EFI-based firmware can handle bigger disk sizes just fine. In fact, I'd love to see somebody try, assuming they're ready to void their warranty.

In any case, if you're been hoping to run a few of these monsters in RAID mode, you'll have to wait a little longer. With any luck, but early next year we'll see lots of PCs with updated BIOS architectures hitting the market, and Seagate will be able to start selling internal 3TB drives to the SMB masses.

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