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Caviar serves up a heaping 3GB

Just as users were getting used to 1GB hard disk drives, Western Digital is upping the ante to a massive 3GB.

Just as users were getting used to 1GB hard disk drives as standard equipment on PCs, Western Digital is upping the ante to a massive 3GB.

A 3GB hard disk drive can hold about five times as much data as a CD-ROM disk, now the most commonly used medium with an extremely high data capacity.

Western Digital's new 3.1GB drive is part of its "Caviar" family of hard disk drives and uses the Enhanced IDE interface, which delivers high data transfer rates for fast delivery of information from the disk to the PC. The Caviar AC33100 has a data access time (known as the "average read seek time") of below 12 milliseconds, a time considered fast for a hard disk drive.

"The Caviar [drive] is part of a new platform [for] all PC market segments: a 1-platter, 1GB for the entry-level commercial and emerging markets; a 2-platter, 2.1GB for consumer PCs; and 3-platter, 2.5GB and 3.1GB solutions for the high performance PCs," the company said in a written statement.

The company says the new mega-drive will appear in PCs in the fall with an estimated retail price of $549. Evaluation units and volume production units of the Caviar AC33100 will be available in June.