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Seagate Launches First 3TB HDD Backup Drive

Gordon Kelly


Seagate Launches First 3TB HDD Backup Drive

There have been 3TB external drives on sale before, but none from just a single drive...

The big news is Seagate has released the world's first three terabyte hard drive, just one month on from announcing the existence of this gargantuan HDD. Perhaps inevitably its first port of call is as an external storage drive in the form of the '3TB FreeAgent GoFlex' and it couples its immense capacity with USB 3.0 compatibility and a FireWire 800 connection.

"Consumer capacity demands are quickly out-pacing the needs of business as people continue to collect high-definition videos, photos and music," said Dave Mosley, Seagate executive VP of Sales, Marketing and Product Line Management. "Seagate has a tradition of designing products that break into new storage frontiers to meet customer requirements and the 3TB GoFlex Desk external drive is no exception–delivering the highest-capacity storage solution available today."

Of course, as Seagate mentioned in May, not all is sweetness and light for those tempted by a 3TB HDD. The size crosses the 2.1TB threshold which is addressable by 32bit operating systems as they lack the 'Long LBA' (logical block addressing) to see past this size. Consequently only 64bit Windows 7, Vista, Mac OS X and "modified versions of Linux" will be able to see the full 3TB. RAID setups will also need to be Long LBA compatible to work and NAS setups are equally problematic.

On the plus side, this can only help further kill off ageing 32bit systems and with an immediate US release and RRP of just $249 (£165) the 3TB FreeAgent GoFlex is a hugely tempting proposition. Now let's see those internal drives...

Update: We've had the UK RRP through as £329 which means there's a mistake either on the US or UK side. We're waiting for a clarification (the UK is expensive, but not that expensive!).

Link: Press Release


June 29, 2010, 11:57 pm

I had thought that the 'greater than 2.1TB' issue was related to booting.... so does this mean that most old OS's (e.g. a 32bit WinXP) could read this 3TB external drive, or not?


June 30, 2010, 12:46 am

When will this be available to buy?


June 30, 2010, 1:33 am

@MSIC - It is due to the use of the MBR. MBR only support partition sizes of upto 2TB, in the partition table.

GUID does not have this problem, and neither does Server 2003 using Dynamic NTFS volume.


June 30, 2010, 1:47 am

@Kaben - immediately in the US. Still waiting for UK/European info.

Tony Walker

June 30, 2010, 3:28 am

A quick Froogle gives initial UK prices of £185-ish but no stock yet.

Tim Sutton

June 30, 2010, 5:54 am


Happily MSIC has it right, 3TB (and upwards) EXTERNAL drives should be fine.

From a Stephen Foskett post:

'Most recent OSes will support these large disks in non-booting external drive units connected with USB 2.0, USB 3.0, FireWire, or eSATA

In other words, current PCs will never boot from these new giant drives, but most other uses should be fine as long as a modern OS is used. '

I'm not sure that XP counts as a modern OS any more though I'm afraid. Vista and 7 will have no issues with huge external drives.. however internal boot drives on a 32bit flavour OS will be more problematic.


June 30, 2010, 2:58 pm

@Tim & MSIC - It should fine external, if you use MBR then you will have to partition the drive. If you use NTFS Dynamic volumes then you'll be able to have a single 3TB volume. Anything other than Windows your on your own.

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