Seagate prepares 3TB hard drives

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Seagate prepares 3TB hard drives

Seagate has confirmed that it is preparing the first 3TB hard drives to come to market later this year, but has warned that many users will need a new computer to take full advantage of this amount of storage.

The drive maker said that its first 3.5in 3TB units are likely to be available towards the end of 2010, but no exact availability date has yet been set.

In the meantime, Seagate is trying to raise awareness that many computers will not be able to use the full capacity of the new drives. Desktop PCs running Windows XP, for example, can handle a maximum 2.1TB of disk space.

Newer operating systems, such as the 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and Windows Vista, support a newer logical block address (LBA) scheme called Long LBA addressing that can handle drive volumes larger than 2.1TB.

The standard Windows hard disk driver included in Vista and Windows 7 already supports Long LBA, according to Seagate, while Intel is currently working to add this to an updated version of its Intel Storage Matrix driver.

However, the legacy Bios firmware inside most PCs does not, so even these systems would be unable to boot from a 3TB disk.

Seagate advises that users will need a PC with a Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, the replacement for the legacy PC Bios, or to use drives larger than 2.1TB connected to Raid controllers or host bus adapters, commonly used in workstation and server environments.

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