PC hard drive expands size and speed

Seagate Technology has started shipping a 400Gbyte hard drive targeted at personal computers.

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Seagate Technology has started shipping a 400Gbyte hard drive targeted at personal computers.

The increasing popularity of PC-based multimedia applications, particularly home video editing and downloading of films and TV shows from peer-to-peer networks, is driving demand for bigger hard-disc drives. In addition to high storage capacities, such drives need to be able to read and write data fast enough to keep up with real-time video.

The drive is the fourth member of Seagate's Barracuda 7200.8 series and comes in two versions, one with an Ultra ATA/100 interface and one with a Serial ATA. The rotational speed of the disc is 7,200rpm, with an average seek time of 8 milliseconds.

The Serial ATA version supports native command queuing (NCQ), allowing the drive to manage multiple commands from the PC in whatever order it deems most efficient. Until now, drives have handled read and write requests in the order it gets them. Native command queuing means users with NCQ-compliant systems will see performance closer to 10,000rpm than 7,200rpm, according to Seagate.

The disc has three media platters, each capable of storing 133Gbytes of data, which Seagate said was a record for a PC-targeted drive.

Martyn Williams writes for IDG News Service



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