Coming soon: The 8-terabyte desktop

Eight terabytes of data storage? That's like 8,000 pick-up trucks filled with books. But VoodooPC says you'll like it.

You can never be too rich, be too thin or have too much hard drive capacity, according to VoodooPC.

The gamer PC specialist later this year will launch a desktop PC with 16 hard drives, according to Raul Sood, VoodooPC president.

In all, the system will be capable of holding eight terabytes of data. That's the same amount of information you could store on the paper from 400,000 trees, according to a UC Berkeley research study. Academic research libraries typically contain about 2TB of data.

VoodooPC's hard drive obsession comes courtesy of Vista, the new operating system coming from Microsoft later this year. Microsoft and PC makers will promote Vista as a way to turn PCs into home entertainment centers. Video, and in particular high-definition video, can gobble up storage fast.

Depending on the standard and the compression, HD video can require anywhere from 11 to 410 gigabytes per hour of video. (1,000GB make up 1TB.)

"Storage is going to be where it's at with Vista," Sood said. "I think Vista is more of a (increasing the) storage play than a memory play. There will be a lot more emphasis on storage."

Usually, memory makers are the ones rejoicing when a new Microsoft OS comes out because the upgrade typically prompts PC makers to substantially boost the amount of memory in their boxes.

Fully outfitted systems from VoodooPC won't be for those susceptible to sticker shock. PCs with 8TB of storage might cost $8,000 to $9,000, Sood said. Still, the company will likely sell 1TB systems with Vista. It sells 1TB systems now for about $3,000.

Hard drives prices have, however, been dropping rapidly. Storage costs for PC manufacturers and distributors has been about 55 cents per gigabyte, says IDC analyst Dave Reinsel. He said prices are likely to continue to drop from 15 percent to 20 percent annually.

Vista will also motivate customers to move into 64-bit computing. Microsoft has been selling a 64-bit version of Windows for around ten months, but few consumers actually buy systems with it, according to Sood and others. Few applications exist to work with it. In fact, most people who buy computers with 64-bit processors will use 32-bit software.

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