As noted last month Seagate has announced the industry's 1st 3 TB drive. Beyond the obvious "first" - but certainly not the last - the announcement is interesting for several reasons:
- External only. The bare drive has not been announced - just the external version with Advanced Margin Enhancement Technology.
- Consumer only. Normally new drives get announced as OEM products 1st. Not this time.
- Proprietary GoFlex product only. The product is only available as a GoFlex external drive using Seagate's proprietary GoFlex connector. Sure you could pop the case and remove the unspecified but undoubtedly SATA drive, but why? Wait a couple of months and the bare drives will be out.
- Free NTFS driver for Mac. Cool, but I'll wait to hear how well it works. Microsoft keeps tweaking the NTFS interface which has created problems before and no doubt will again.
- No drive specs. Normally new drives get some pictures and a data sheet, but not this time. I assume that the drive is a 4 or maybe 5 platter job, which drives up cost, and that Seagate mostly wanted bragging rights as WD has beaten them to the punch several times lately.
The Storage Bits take
It usually takes about a quarter to get volumes up and costs down. Shipping the drive as a proprietary external drive is not only good for margins but also keeps demand manageable while the factory gears up.
Expect to see other vendors with similar announcements over the next quarter. While 3 TB is good news, the bad news is that sources tell me that 4 TB drives are slipping out to next year.
Comments welcome, of course. Update: A commenter notes that the drive may not be a SATA drive. Buyer beware! End update.