back to article Seagate's 3TB external drive

Seagate has breached a barrier and introduced a massive 3TB external drive in the form of an updated FreeAgent GoFlex. The GoFlex line comes with a USB 2.0 adapter which can be changed to either a USB 3.0 or FireWire 800 one. The good news is that can hold masses of videos, movies, music files, or whatever. The drive will …


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  1. Annihilator

    External first?

    Is that not a bit odd? Launching it in an external caddy first?

    1. Peter H. Coffin

      A bit odd

      ... perhaps, but if there's something slightly odd about this run of drive mechanisms, providing in an enclosure can distract from a multitude of sins. If the drive runs very hot, they can thermally bind the drive to the case and use it for cooling. If the thing is very sensitive to power wiggles, they can bung a big fat filter into the power supply for the case. If it spits out a little more RF than is really acceptable in an open computer case, the enclosure can be shielding. If it's a little susceptible to cosmic rays, they can make the case out of lead and Superman's old underwear.

    2. Robert E A Harvey


      I'm guessing they have some sort of issue that would be less apparent if only powered up occasionally.

    3. chr0m4t1c

      The real problem with an external case is...

      If you hold it wrong, you lose 50% of the drive capacity.

  2. Cameron Colley

    Linux? ESATA?

    Since it requires 64bit Win or Mac does that mean 64bit Linux will handle it too?

    Also, any word on an ESATA version?

    1. fnj

      Who cares about Windows

      My prediction is that 32 and 64 bit linux will support the drive just fine.

      1. Nexox Enigma

        Yup, 32bit is enough for Linux

        """My prediction is that 32 and 64 bit linux will support the drive just fine."""

        Yeah as long as you have large volume support (or whatever it's actually called) compiled into your kernel, 32 bit Linux has no problem with 3TB drives. I've been running a ~7TB raid5 array in a 32bit system for a while, no problems at all.

    2. BristolBachelor Gold badge


      I was thinking the same. ISTR that this range has an eSATA port and the changeable adaptors just plug into it?

      USB is fine for the occasional file, but for real use eSATA makes a lot more sense.

      As for 64bin Win, surely the number of bits used for internal memory addressing by Windows makes no difference, it just needs a newer version of windows that understands the sectoring used on the larger disks?

  3. ZenCoder

    An actual reason to upgrade to Windows 7.

    I am still running Windows XP, but if hard drive capacities start growing beyond 2TB I might have to rethink that.

    1. Peter H. Coffin

      Re: An actual reason to upgrade to Windows 7.

      It's not a matter of "if", it's a matter of "when". And it seems like "when" is probably "by Christmas" now...

  4. Steve Roper

    Drive size increase seems to have slowed

    For the past three decades, the pattern has been a thousand-fold increase in drive capacity per decade. In 1980, the first home computers were using ~100Kb 5-1/4" floppies. In 1985, ~1 megabyte storage (as in Amiga floppies) was the norm. By 1990 50-100 MB harddrives had appeared. Around 1995 we saw the arrival of 1GB harddrives, an increase of a thousand since 1985. Then in 2000 50-100GB harddrives were available. And around 2005 we saw the appearance of the first 1TB drives - another thousandfold increase from 1995.

    If this pattern were to continue, we should theoretically now be hovering around the 50-100 TB mark with 1PB drives coming out sometime around 2015 or so. But it ain't gonna happen - not unless there's a huge storage tech breakthrough. We appear to have hit a limit.

    As with clock speeds, our storage technology is now pushing the envelope of physics and quantum mechanics. Are we seeing the end of an evolutionary leap? Will our technology now stabilise at pretty much what we have now, for the next century or so? One can only wonder.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wikipedia says it's more like a 100-fold increase per decade

      That corresponds to doubling every 18 months.

      It's not clear to me that it's slowing. Also, flash is growing faster and might overtake.

    2. Annihilator

      Moore's Law

      Hard disk growth is a logarithmic growth and is in keeping with predictions for the moment:

      What's skewing the data is the shift to 2.5" form factor and SSD development.

    3. ravenviz Silver badge

      The limit?

      The limit may be physical but also it's to do with demand, I think that most domestic users might top out at the 500 GB mark for their 'needs', music, photos, etc. It may only be enthusiasts or pirates who need anything greater. Why make huge capacity disk drives when no-one wants them?

      1. Anonymous Coward


        There's always one.

        So, no domestic users own DSLRs, which they use for video, or download programmes from iPlayer HD?

        There's always some blithering fuckwit with the "so you must be a pirate" idocy. Go back to your punched cards, troll.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge


          Before everyone knee-jerks on this guys post,

          "It may only be enthusiasts or pirates"

          There is an OR statement in there. I would count myself an 'enthusiast' with a 4Tb NAS array so my behaviour is adequately encompassed within that statement without being branded a 'pirate'....arrrr...damn - gave myself away!

          Logic, gotta love it :)

      2. Christoph Silver badge

        Yes, of course

        Nobody would ever need more than 640 Gb

  5. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Linux should be fine. And maybe windows too.

    "Since it requires 64bit Win or Mac does that mean 64bit Linux will handle it too?"

    Nope, you should not need a 64-bit Linux distro to handle >2TB drives. Doing some googling, it seems Ubuntu has supported >2TB disks since 6.10 (October 2006).

    In fact, I'm not actually sure you need 64-bit windows... based on some googling, I think it may just be Windows *XP* where you have to have a 64-bit version to support GPT (and so >2TB disks). For an over 2TB disk, you must either use a raw disk (which Linux is happy to do, WIndows not so much....) or you must use the newer GPT partition format, the "traditional" MBR partition table does not support >2TB disks.

    Of course, I don't use Windows, there haven't been any >2TB disks on the market before, and there are sometimes particularly with Microsoft products, things that should work on paper on it that don't in practice, so who knows.

  6. Steve Brooks

    chicken or egg!

    "Is that not a bit odd? Launching it in an external caddy first?" Not treally. Many motherboards still can't handle Hard drives in excess of 2TB, but external drives with their own electronics will be fine connected by USB or eSATA, so it is a good first step to get 2TB+ plus drives out on the market without waiting for another round of motherboard production by the big manufacturers.

  7. martin burns
    Paris Hilton

    3 TB ho ho ho

    It does make me laugh when I hear people boasting of their measly 3TB external storage.

    First off, it may seem like a huge size right now, but won't for long. I recall a late 90s columnist wishing for a drive so unimaginably big that he could drop a file in and hear the echo when it hit bottom. He was talking of a 2GB drive.

    No matter *how* big the drive, you *will* fill it. And with HD media becoming increasingly common, that day will arrive sooner than you might expect. When that day arrives, migrating to a new drive is a royal PiTA; even over USB2 or Firewire, it's vastly more time than is convenient, and I'll bet you a whole shiny 20p that some metadata won't make it.

    Secondly, yes, it's very true that an external backup to your main machine is A Good Thing. However, 3TBs worth of movies, music & photos is a major time investment in scanning, ripping, TV recording and general data transfer - and is perhaps less replaceable than the contents of your actual machine. You do *not* want to lose that. So backup to your media server becomes decreasingly optional.

    RAID would do it for you, but of course you need to be careful about drive selection. And what do you do when it's full and need to expand further?

    I'm so happy that I moved to Drobo a few months ago. I currently have 2 drives (any size/speed/manufacturer mix of SATA drives will do), totalling 1.5TB. When that fills as it will in the next month or so, I just slam in another drive. If one drive fails, I replace it without data loss. Or even powering down/rebuilding arrays.

    Paris, 'cos even she's sensible enough to do decent backups and avoid falling into the Gates '640k should be enough for anyone' trap.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge


      "I just slam in another drive"

      good job they're sturdy then innit?

    2. Des

      RAID can grow

      RAID setups are clever enough to grow without data loss; I have a Thecus N5200 Pro with 5 x 750GB HDDs, and if/when I replace any drives I can just put in bigger drives. The only downside for my (proper) RAID 5 setup is that I won't see the benefit until all the drives have been upgraded. Having said that I have read numerous reports of problems with the drobo enclosures and they don't exactly seem like good value for money.

    3. Annihilator

      Late 90's

      "First off, it may seem like a huge size right now, but won't for long. I recall a late 90s columnist wishing for a drive so unimaginably big that he could drop a file in and hear the echo when it hit bottom. He was talking of a 2GB drive"

      That must have been very early late-90's. In 1996 my PC had a 1.6GB drive and wasn't top spec.

  8. Michael 28

    most aren't

    ..i lost a 1.5tb drive recently as it fell over when spinning up. Luckily it just had ... er... some home movies on it . Hot -swappable NAS boxes are definitely the way to go with media centres

    and drives. Any news from Synology on compatability? Toshiba is usually compatable , but don't know if the firmware would be up to this level.

  9. John Klos

    What does 64 bit anything have to do with this?

    "Apparently you'll need 64-bit Windows or Mac OS support to get access to its full capacity."

    Ummm... I don't know about Windows since I don't run Windows, but Macs have been supporting single drives larger than 2 terabytes for ages (without the 2^32 sector limit). Mac OS X 10.2 will support a single drive up to 8 terabytes and 10.4 and later up to 8 exabytes. This has absolutely nothing to do with 64 bitness.

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