New rumors are suggesting that WD will deliver 3TB drives to retail soon. After a long time of hard work with solving compatibility problems with the 32-bit version of Windows, Western Digital is getting ready for a full scale launch of new 3TB models.
According to Tech Arp who published the unconfirmed information WD is planning a refresh if its three harddrive series; Caviar Black, Caviar Blue and Caviar Green, where all will get new top models with 3TB capacity. Exactly when the launch will happen isn’t certain, but the source states the middle of October, thus in 2-3 weeks at most.
Seagate presented its external 3TB harddrive FreeAgent earlier this summer, but the drive is still a rare sight and we still haven’t heard anything about a discrete drive. The problem is with current operating systems and their limitations, something we discussed in our previous article on Seagate’s first 3TB drive.
But the problems start when you try to use the harddrive as a regular internal drive where limitations in Windows and and current hardware will cause problems with harddrive over 2TB storage capacity due to 32-bit addressing. Something that can be solved with EFI, the successor to BIOS, that supports GUID Partition Table and 64-bit LBA addressing.
WD is said to have solved these problems through its storage technology 4KB Advanced Format Sector Disk that uses larger storage sectors (4 KiloByte vs. 512 Byte), but even if most systems should be able to enjoy 3TB haddrives for storage (UEFI is required to boot from a storage unit over 2TB) there are limitations there too.
WD Caviar Green already uses 4KB Advanced Format Sector Disk
Microsoft Windows Home Server supports 4KB storage sectors and writes the following on its website for the use of Advanced Format sector disk.
You will experience performance degradation when using Advanced Format disk in your Home Server v1 for Server Backup, Storage Pool, or System Disk because the disks are formatted and aligned in a way Windows Home Server is not compatible with.
The good thing is that Microsoft Home Server Vail that is based on Windows Server 2008 R2 will support 4KB sectors, but when it will launch is uncertain. If the information on Tech Arp pans out we will get 3TB harddrives on the market before Vail arrives in stores.