Like their 1 TB brethren before them, 2 TB drives are showing up first at the desktop — beginning with the shipment this week of a 2 TB version of Western Digital’s Caviar Green 3.5-inch SATA drive.
The drive follows two generations of high-capacity desktop drives in the Green line. The first was a four-platter 1 TB drive with a 16 MB cache, followed by a 3-platter 1 TB drive with a 32 MB cache. The new 2 TB version uses four 500 GB platters and eight drive heads and also includes a 32 MB cache.
In addition to cramming more data into the same drive footprint, the WD Green line, as its name indicates, targets power-conscious users with drive firmware features that manage energy efficiency. This includes “IntelliPower,” described by WD as “a finely tuned balance” of spin speed, transfer rates, and caching algorithms designed to keep the drive’s power draw just over 10 watts while reading and writing and at 10 watts or under while idle.
Other 1 TB 3.5-inch drives, such as Seagate’s Barracuda, draw about 8 watts while idle. WD’s goal with this drive was to double the capacity without doubling the power draw, according to Caviar Green product manager Mojgan Pessian. Because energy efficiency and capacity are the focus of this product, she said, the drive’s exact RPM–somewhere between 5400 and the typical desktop 7200–is not being disclosed. “This is a low-RPM drive,” she said. “That’s how it’s [able to be] low-power.”
According to IDC analyst John Rydning, these drives will probably find their way into what IDC calls personal storage devices, boxes from Iomega, Buffalo and others sold to consumers and prosumers for backup. “Last year, with one terabyte hard drives, you saw two terabyte solutions in the market,” he said. “This year, we should see those devices offer 4 TB in the same form factor.”
Enterprise users are growing wary of ever-increasing drive sizes, as big drives can make failures more devastating, and double-drive failures more likely. For consumers, though, Rydning pointed out that drives like this in personal storage devices are most often used for less critical copies of data rather than for ‘primary’ storage.