Seagate has released what it claims is the industry first 3 TB external hard drive. The high-capacity FreeAgent GoFlex Desk, released Tuesday, easily surpasses rival Western Digital's maximum of 2 TB on a hard disk drive. In addition, Seagate has kept the price competitive at $250, or about 8 cents per gigabyte.
The new desktop drive comes with a USB 2.0 base. However, optional bases that add either a FireWire 800 or a USB 3.0 connector are available for $50 or$40, respectively. The other connectors provide up to 10 times the data transfer speed of the older USB 2.0. However, the desktop would also have to support the faster standards.
In striving to produce higher capacity drives. Seagate and competitors are trying to stay ahead of the growing need for storage as people use their computers for storing high-definition video, pictures and music. Seagate says its latest drive can store up to 120 HD movies, 1,500 video games, thousands of photos or "countless hours" of digital music.
"Consumer capacity demands are quickly out-pacing the needs of business as people continue to collect high-definition videos, photos and music," Dave Mosley, Seagate executive VP of sales and marketing, said in a statement.
Quoting a recent report by Parks Associates, the vendor says digital media storage for the average consumer household will increase nine-fold to nearly 900 GB by the end of 2014. Much of that growth will be due to video downloads and managing copies of Blu-ray high-definition movies.
Besides multimedia storage, the new GoFlex Desk can be used as a backup drive and provides file encryption for data security. The drive is compatible with a Windows PC or Mac. Each drive includes an NTFS driver that's installed on a Mac, making it possible for the drive to store and access files from either system without reformatting.
The GoFlex Desk is a 3.5-inch drive housed in a black case that roughly 6 inches by 5 inches by 2 inches. The device weighs 2.38 pounds. The GoFlex Desk is also available in 1TB and 2TB models for $130 and $190, respectively.
Western Digital released its highest capacity 3.5-inch desktop drive about a year and a half ago. The 2 TB Caviar Green sells for $190.