STORAGE VENDOR Hitachi has released the first standalone 4TB hard drive.
Hitachi's disk drive unit that is about to be swallowed up by Western Digital has become the first hard drive vendor to sell a 4TB hard drive, albeit in Japan. Seagate has shipped a 4TB drive encased in one of its removable enclosures before, but Hitachi, which was the first manufacturer to hit 1TB, has managed to achieve what is likely to be the last major milestone for the brand before it becomes part of Western Digital.
Hitachi's Deskstar HDS5C40 looks to be a 5,900RPM unit with components made in flood-hit Thailand back in October. There is a 32MB cache but the number of platters is a mystery, though Hitachi tends to prefer five platters for its latest high capacity monsters.
It is surprising to see Hitachi release a high-end drive at a time when most of the industry is reeling from the devastating floods in Thailand. Given the supply shortage, the price of Hitachi's 4TB unit isn't that bad, with one Japanese retailer flogging the drive in retail packaging for ¥26,800 (£220).
Hitachi could have released its 4TB drive to let consumers know mechanical hard drives are still progressing. With hard drive prices soaring due to the Thai floods, solid-state disk (SSD) drives are becoming increasingly attractive, however a £220 4TB MLC SSD is still a few years off yet.
There's no word on when Hitachi will bring its 4TB drive over here, but most punters looking for hard disks would settle for seeing 2TB and 3TB drives come back down to summer 2011 prices µ.