Seagate boosts drives to 750GB

Barracuda 7200.10 line, now shipping, features platters that store data in vertical columns.

Seagate has pushed one step closer to the terabyte hard drive with a new 3.5-inch drive that holds up to 750 gigabytes.

The Scotts Valley, Calif.-based company has started to ship its Barracuda 7200.10 line of hard drives to computer manufacturers. The drive features platters that store data in vertical columns, which allow more information to be stored in a given space on the hard-drive platter.

As a result, the top end of the Barracuda line, designed for the PC and workstation market, can hold up to 750GB--a record, according to Seagate (to date, Seagate and Hitachi have sold drives that top out at 500GB). The 750GB drive costs $590. Other Barracuda 7200.10 drives range in density from 500GB to 200GB. The entry-level model sells for $108.

"We don't charge a premium for perpendicular," said Joni Clark, product marketing manager.

The drive was launched about a month ahead of schedule because of better-than-expected yields in manufacturing.

Although the record likely won't last long in the rapidly evolving hard-drive business, it reflects the success Seagate has had over its competitors in bringing perpendicular technology to market. Very few of Seagate's drives incorporate the technology, but the company has begun to release the drives at a fairly regular clip.

The company has already come out with perpendicular notebook drives. Last week, it announced a line of perpendicular drives for servers.

The Barracuda 7200.10 is the company's fifth perpendicular drive.

A 750GB drive could hold the same amount of data as 750 pickup trucks loaded with books, or the amount of data contained in books produced from 37,500 trees, according to the famed How Much Information study from the University of California, Berkeley. Still, demand for storage is expected to grow with the proliferation of high definition television. Some companies already sell storage appliances with a terabyte of storage.

Although the technology continually advances, the hard-drive market remains a tough neighborhood to live in. The hard-drive market will increase 18 percent, from 380 million in 2005 to 450 million drives in 2006, according to research firm TrendFocus. Still, many companies struggle to turn a profit. Seagate, for instance, is acquiring former competitor Maxtor, which recently announced layoffs and financial losses.

Most drives continue to go to the PC industry.

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