Seagate Launches 3-TB Desktop Drive, Breaks 2.1-TB Limit With DiscWizard Software

Seagate's new Barracuda XT hard drive is not the first to ship with a 3-TB capacity, but it is the first with a simple way to overcome the per-drive 2.1-TB capacity limitation of desktop PCs, said David Burks, product marketing manager for the company's desktop, consumer electronics, and surveillance business.

The drives use Seagate's DiscWizard software to unlock the full capacity, Burks said. DiscWizard, once downloaded, can be run to configure the drives and set up and use partitions, and make it possible to access over 2.1 TBs on a single drive with Microsoft's Windows XP, Vista, and 7 operating systems, he said.

DiscWizard also allows the drive to be set up as a 2.1-TB bootable hard drive under Window Vista and 7, with the excess capacity available as a separate partition, Burks said. "Windows XP limits a bootable partition to 900 GBs by default," he said. "But with DiscWizard, customers still have access to the entire drive."

Other vendors require additional hardware or software or extra device drivers to overcome the 2.1-TB limit, he said.

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Seagate is not the first to unveil 3-TB desktop hard drives. Hitachi GST last month introduced its first 3-TB models, while Western Digital beat them all with its October introduction of its WD Caviar Green SATA drives.

Burks said DiscWizard could also help customers configure their 3-TB Hitachi GST and Western Digital drives. "The only restriction is that customers have at least one Seagate product in their systems," he said.

Seagate held back on the release of its 3-TB drives because it wanted to use the UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) specification for booting an operating system and running pre-boot applications, Burks said.

"We also wanted to add support for Windows XP because of its large installed base," he said. "And we wanted to offer it for no additional cost."

The 2.1-TB capacity limitation is mainly related to desktop PCs, Burks said. Servers can address larger capacities via RAID technology, he said.

The 3.5-inch Barracuda XT drives come in 2-TB and 3-TB capacities, and feature a 7,200-rpm spin speed, a 6-Gbps SATA interface, and 64 MBs of cache. They are slated to be available early this month with a retail price of $279.99 for the 3-TB version.