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Saturday, January 06, 2007

CES: Who needs 1Tbyte of storage?

Does the world need a 1Tbyte hard disk drive? Well, Hitachi thinks it does, and that is backed up by market researchers iSuppli.
1024Gbytes of storage would hold 50 million sheets of A4 paper stretching 3.5 miles into the sky, or 500 full-length, standard-definition movies. Or 250,000 hours of music without repeating a song.
The 7K1000 from Hitachi Global Storage Technology launched at the Consumer Electronic Show this coming week is the first 1Tbyte HDD and uses five platters to get the dnesity. As iSuppli points out, this is a significant milestone: the first 10Mbyte drive was launched in 1985 and the first 1Gbyte capacity in 1991. Now 1Tbyte joins the party in 2007.
So where will 1Tbytes be used? The answer was in those movies – that will provide all the storage you could need. First in video on demand VoD systems, but then moving down to personal video recorders and high end gaming systems. Hence Hitachi plugging the drive with an old fashioned spool of film (not the most appropriate of images though - old analogue technology to promote leading edge digital!)
“The sweet spot for HDD capacity in the average PC remains in the 100Gbyte to 160Gbyte range,” said Krishna Chander, senior analyst, storage systems, for iSuppli. “Because of this, 1Tbyte drives probably won’t find a huge opportunity in desktop PCs for the next five to seven years, achieving only 3 percent to 5 percent penetration during this period. But, for exciting new products and applications like home gateways, media-center PCs, High Definition (HD) movie downloads, HD Set-Top Boxes (STBs) and HD Digital Video Recorders (DVRs), a 1Tbyte HDD fits the bill nicely, both in terms of capacity and cost.”

Shipments of HDDs to non-computing applications will rise at 23.8% a year from 2005 to 2010, expanding to 177.7 million units in 2010, up from 62.1 million in 2005, iSuppli predicts. For 3.5-inch HDDs like the 7K1000, unit shipments to non-computing applications will rise at a 22.8% CAGR during the same period, expanding to 67.9 million 2010, up from 24.3 million in 2005. In contrast, HDD shipments for all types of computers will rise at a CAGR of only 10.6 percent from 2005 to 2010, and shipments to desktop PCs will grow by a scant 7.1 percent.

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