Western Digital took all the plaudits last year when it launched the first 3TB hard drive for internal use, the WD30EZRSDTL, and while Samsung can lay claim to the first 3TB drive of any type, it was an external drive so it doesn’t really count. Unless you want to break it out of its shiny box and bung it into your PC, which a few people have done.
Coming in late to this party has been Hitachi, but now it too has a 3TB desktop drive and it’s been well worth the wait. In performance terms, it kicks sand in the face of both its competitors.
The Deskstar 7K3000 3TB (HDS723030ALA640) comes with a 7,200prm spindle speed – a world first – and if that wasn’t enough to sort out WD’s drive, Hitachi has given it a SATA 6Gb/s interface, the first Hitachi drive to have it, and a whopping 64MB of cache which admittedly is the same size as WD’s drive.
For a bit of real life testing we backed up a 13GB folder of mixed file types on to the Hitachi drive, which took just 190.14 secs thanks to its SATA 6Gb/s
Unlike WD’s neat way to get around the problems of using mega capacity disks by bundling a controller card with the drive, Hitachi leaves it up to you to sort out the complexities to get the drive up and running as it’s not quite as simple as opening up the PC and slapping in the new drive. Well, it is if you are a Mac OS X or Linux user, but if you are using an OS supplied by that nice Mr. Gates then you are faced by a few more hurdles to overcome – nothing new there then.
To make this drive bootable, it basically requires you to have a very up-to-date motherboard and a 64 bit version of Vista or Windows 7. If you are an XP user then please move along, there’s nothing to see here, quite literally, as the OS doesn’t support drives of this capacity.
The reason for the need of a very modern motherboard is that you need one that has a UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) BIOS. They are rare but improving all the time, and Hitachi has got a guide on its website to give you an idea of the board you need.
The need for a 64 bit Windows OS is because you require something that creates and uses GUID partition tables (GPT) and not the old familiar master boot record (MBR) tables. The same goes for using it as a data drive if you want to see its full 2.79TB formatted capacity.