Are conventional hard drives nearing their limits?...

Started Feb 23, 2011 | Discussions
glasswave Forum Pro • Posts: 10,154
Are conventional hard drives nearing their limits?...

Are conventional hard drives nearing their limits? It seems that the old axiom of drives being double the storage for the same price every new yaer is beginning to fade away.

I bought a 1tb external for $105 2.5 years ago & expected that I would find 4tb drives in this range today, but as it turns out, no 4tb's are available & 2tb drives are barely under $100.

Is it due to technology limits, the r&d capitol all being directed towards solid state or simply lack of demand for larger drives?

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Eugene Powers Forum Pro • Posts: 10,108
Re: Are conventional hard drives nearing their limits?...

They do have 3tb drives now under $200

I think the highest density is like 667GB per platter now but I don't think 3tb drives using it. 4TB should be coming soon. But eventually it is getting harder and harder to increase density per platter.
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AwkwardSwine Contributing Member • Posts: 645
Re: Are conventional hard drives nearing their limits?...

No end in sight. Storage density will continue to increase and "disk" size should continue to dramatically increase. As mechanical parts give way to solid state memory (SSDs) the only limitation is in price. Moore's laws is still in effect and $ GB just get lower every year.

I think that disk technology has far exceeded what many expected vs memory over the years. Even if disk density gets better and better, I think the performance advantages of memory will put it in the grave before long.

brn Veteran Member • Posts: 3,030
Re: Are conventional hard drives nearing their limits?...

Back in 1990, hard drives reached the physical limits of platter density. Seriously. I worked for Control Data / Seagate in the day and remember a company meeting where they announced it. 12GB was going to be the most they'd every be able to get on a 5.25" full height drive. Crystal storage was going to be the next generation of storage.

Hard drives are still here. They've continued to find ways of defying the laws of physics and there's no end in sight.

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Peter Szymiczek Regular Member • Posts: 368
Re: Are conventional hard drives nearing their limits?...

brn wrote:

Back in 1990, hard drives reached the physical limits of platter density. Seriously. I worked for Control Data / Seagate in the day and remember a company meeting where they announced it. 12GB was going to be the most they'd every be able to get on a 5.25" full height drive. Crystal storage was going to be the next generation of storage.

Back in 1990 we used 5.25" floppy drives...
Give it another 2-3 years and no one will buy a new computer without SSD.
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mosswings Veteran Member • Posts: 8,217
Re: Are conventional hard drives nearing their limits?...

glasswave wrote:

Are conventional hard drives nearing their limits? It seems that the old axiom of drives being double the storage for the same price every new yaer is beginning to fade away.

I bought a 1tb external for $105 2.5 years ago & expected that I would find 4tb drives in this range today, but as it turns out, no 4tb's are available & 2tb drives are barely under $100.

Is it due to technology limits, the r&d capitol all being directed towards solid state or simply lack of demand for larger drives?

1TB is a pretty dang big drive. The 2TB drives now out there are significantly less reliable, and I hate to think what the 3TB drives' failure rates are. Perhaps the biggest reason for an immense hard drive is the preponderance of laptop PCs. Anything under a 17" form factor can't fit more than one drive in the case, so a large drive is needed to store the OS and all your pictures or videos. In my personal experience I tend to partition my drives into several smaller ones of about 500GB or less each, and from an access speed and reliability point of view it's better to have a bunch of smaller disks than a single large one in case of failure. Certainly you don't need a 1TB drive for your OS and applications; 120-200GB is plenty, and one of the reasons that solid state drives are appearing in more installations. Eventually solid state prices will drop to the point where a 2 "spindle" laptop system with a small solid state OS drive will be paired with a large capacity data HDD. But in no way are HDDs reaching their physical limits; just their practical limits, particularly for desktops.

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malch Forum Pro • Posts: 14,048
Re: Are conventional hard drives nearing their limits?...

mosswings wrote:

1TB is a pretty dang big drive. The 2TB drives now out there are significantly less reliable

This is a good point. The 2TB drives had a significantly higher failure rate than their 1TB predecessors. I suppose that's to be expected. The $64K question is when will the manufacturers get on top of the issues? Perhaps they have now -- it will take a while for improved reliability to become apparent.

I'll probably hold off buying any until the summer.

Eugene Powers Forum Pro • Posts: 10,108
Re: Are conventional hard drives nearing their limits?...

Of course there will be the end. The same as for CPUs and Moors law. I think for CPU 10nm is the end (and they are going to have 22nm this year) because being that small electrons will just travel sideways, I forgot what the technical term is.

Same goes for HDs, MR heads can only read and write to a certain density and after that magnetic field is going to go astray.

More likely today's technology is simply going to be replaced with something revolutionary for CPU and HD in about 10 years from now.
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lylejk
lylejk Forum Pro • Posts: 32,243
Maybe it's time to rethink.

First, so many times have I heard that smart phone/pads are going to be the future and that everything will be in the cloud. If you consider that all your data will be externally stored and accessed, then the emphasis will be higher bandwidth internet access with very little localized storage (maybe just enough for the OS). I do not like the cloud idea personally, but I pretty much solely depend on it for image sharing and file sharing already. Take a look at this cool video link that was recently emailed to me about Corning Glass. Basically, everyone's digital phone will be like a defacto hub that will then be able to access and share data at will (assuming the cloud of course as the true storage media).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Cf7IL_eZ38

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OP glasswave Forum Pro • Posts: 10,154
Re: My data, my drive: f the cloud...

...cloud computing is an idea that resufaces in a new wrapper every 10-15 years. It is born in an idillyc IT pipe dream that still resonates from the days of minis & mains w/dumb terminals. They regret the development of the personal computer, upon which we could all have our own stuff on our own drives.

They have tried to eliminate this model many times. First (late 80's) they wanted to go to network server model where all the apps would reside on the server & we would be on driveless pc's. Next (mid 90's), it was internet served apps delivered to driveless java boxes. Now, it's all data will be stored in the cloud & we'll all have driveless touch pads & crap.

The bottom line is that we understand the difference & have done so since the 1st personal computer.

They will never succeed, we will always know, our stuff our drive. F the IT dictators!

Although this time they do seem to stand a chance because our youth seem all to willing to be spineless corporate shills manipulated by the whims of our corporate overlords.

lylejk wrote:

First, so many times have I heard that smart phone/pads are going to be the future and that everything will be in the cloud. If you consider that all your data will be externally stored and accessed, then the emphasis will be higher bandwidth internet access with very little localized storage (maybe just enough for the OS). I do not like the cloud idea personally, but I pretty much solely depend on it for image sharing and file sharing already. Take a look at this cool video link that was recently emailed to me about Corning Glass. Basically, everyone's digital phone will be like a defacto hub that will then be able to access and share data at will (assuming the cloud of course as the true storage media).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Cf7IL_eZ38

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Barry Fitzgerald Forum Pro • Posts: 29,888
Re: Are conventional hard drives nearing their limits?...

Not really the density increases and I'm fairly sure that at current levels HDD's offer more than enough storage for most users.

SSD's will take some time to eat up the market they're currently too expensive and limited capacity wise give it 4/5 years even then I'm not sure big drives will be that affordable.

lylejk
lylejk Forum Pro • Posts: 32,243
Re: My data, my drive: f the cloud...

Tell me again how you feel G. lol

Yeah, I do agree that local may be better so long as you remember to really back up your data. I don't really see the need to go beyond 2Ts though (have a 500G right now and haven't even partitioned 200Gs of it yet until I need to either expand one of the thre drives mapped, or just create an addition 200G partition). I really don't do much local on my machine. take around 200 pics a year (photog I'm not; lol). I don't back up by data often enough either so I might get cursed one day. Still, my strategy would be data backup and the bulk of my HD space would be using external drives (minimum of 2 for each data I have) and maybe keep the most desired data on my local internal drive. If I had to have ready access, then I would probably set up a good sized NAT or maybe even use one of the many online services so long as I had fast and reliable bandwidth. If they could truly get gigabit network access via Internet, then that would be a game changer, but don't see it happening in my hometown anytime soon though Charter recently upped the ante with 12MBit access (minimum speed they offer) for my Internet service (too cheap to pay for the higher version; lol).

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Sean Nelson
Sean Nelson Forum Pro • Posts: 12,603
Re: Are conventional hard drives nearing their limits?...

glasswave wrote:

Are conventional hard drives nearing their limits? It seems that the old axiom of drives being double the storage for the same price every new yaer is beginning to fade away.

For many years the rate of advancement for was to double the capacity around every two years. A couple of years ago everything seemed to grind to a halt as drive manufacturers bumped up against the 2GB limitation imposed by the MBR-style partition table. A solution has been available for quite a while in the form of the GUID partition table, but motherboard manufacturers have been sitting on their hands instead of incorporating the necessary changes into the BIOS. And I understand that the chipset drivers for some of the popular motherboard chipsets have the same problems.

As a result the hard drive vendors have balked at releasing drives larger than 2GB because they won't work as most people expect them to. It's a sure-fire recipe for a support nightmare for them, so they've been waiting for the situation to resolve itself.

3TB drives are starting to trickle out. Drives in external enclosures are less likely to have issues because they use different and generally more compatible drivers. Internal drives are coming too, but right now WD sells them with a bundled controller to get around the motherboard issues.

Hopefully in a year or so the impasse will be solved and forward progress will resume as usual.

Zone8 Forum Pro • Posts: 17,250
Surely the real question should be ....

... why are users so bl^^dy lazy in terms of doing some much needed housekeeping?

Overclogged hard drives seem the norm these days - instead of clearing out all the junk and getting the computer working efficiently, without all the dross shoved on the hard drives.

Never truer is the old expression:

"Give them an inch and they will grab a mile"

Zone8

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RDKirk Forum Pro • Posts: 14,820
Consumers, not creators

Although this time they do seem to stand a chance because our youth seem all to willing to be spineless corporate shills manipulated by the whims of our corporate overlords.

If you recall, the purpose of the personal computer back in the 80s was to do work . Remember the killer apps that really sold the personal computer to the world were the word processor and the spreadsheet--creativity applications. In fact, for a couple of decades, the personal computer world revolved around "creativity applications." That was the thrust of marketing--"creativity apps." Remember that?

One cranky critic, comic-writer Aaron McGruder, has remarked, "Nobody ever typed anything with his thumbs that was worth reading." He calls device designed without an easy way to print, "Moron tech."

That's probably extreme, but it is true that these days, the new marketing all about content consumption, not creation, and that's reflected in the design of the devices. My Net Generation daughter is all about new technology, but she re-affirmed only this morning that she'll never try to write her blog on the touch screen of her phone.

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malch Forum Pro • Posts: 14,048
Re: Are conventional hard drives nearing their limits?...

Sean Nelson wrote:

Internal drives are coming too, but right now WD sells them with a bundled controller to get around the motherboard issues.

Yes, that really speaks volumes about WD's frustration over this issue. And it's a condemnation of the industry as a whole. After going through all of the 8 to 16 to 32 to 64-bit transitions one might have thunk they'd do a better job of managing this little nit.

OP glasswave Forum Pro • Posts: 10,154
Re: Very informative Sean...

...This really clears up the mystery for me.

Sean Nelson wrote:

For many years the rate of advancement for was to double the capacity around every two years. A couple of years ago everything seemed to grind to a halt as drive manufacturers bumped up against the 2GB limitation imposed by the MBR-style partition table. A solution has been available for quite a while in the form of the GUID partition table, but motherboard manufacturers have been sitting on their hands instead of incorporating the necessary changes into the BIOS. And I understand that the chipset drivers for some of the popular motherboard chipsets have the same problems.

As a result the hard drive vendors have balked at releasing drives larger than 2GB because they won't work as most people expect them to. It's a sure-fire recipe for a support nightmare for them, so they've been waiting for the situation to resolve itself.

3TB drives are starting to trickle out. Drives in external enclosures are less likely to have issues because they use different and generally more compatible drivers. Internal drives are coming too, but right now WD sells them with a bundled controller to get around the motherboard issues.

Hopefully in a year or so the impasse will be solved and forward progress will resume as usual.

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OP glasswave Forum Pro • Posts: 10,154
Re: It's just like code/software bloat ....

... it simply is not cost effective to spend time routing thru all your data to save a few gigs.

I run a pretty well managed folder structure. That way even with the bloat I can usually find what I need quickly.

If I do have something come up that requires house cleaning then I throw a lot out, otherwise when I fill a drive, I simply back up the old stuff to the new drive.

Zone8 wrote:

... why are users so bl^^dy lazy in terms of doing some much needed housekeeping?

Overclogged hard drives seem the norm these days - instead of clearing out all the junk and getting the computer working efficiently, without all the dross shoved on the hard drives.

Never truer is the old expression:

"Give them an inch and they will grab a mile"

Zone8

The photograph isolates and perpetuates a moment of time: an important and revealing moment, or an unimportant and meaningless one, depending upon the photographer's understanding of his subject and mastery of his process. -Edward Weston
LINK: For B+W with Epson 1400 (and other models) using black ink only:
http://www.photosnowdonia.co.uk/ZPS/epson1400-B&W.htm

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