Engadget is reporting that brand-new 2TB Western Digital hard drives are showing up in Australian online stores. The drives are Western Digital's first foray past single-terabyte varieties, and are sure to come as a punishing blow to former capacity leader Seagate and its 1.5TB drives which don't seem to be working quite right as of late.
Here are the details we know about the new Western Digital behemoths. They're coming in under the storage manufacturer's Green line of products. This means that they contain a few power-saving tricks, including the ability to modulate between a 7,200 RPM and 5,400 RPM rotational speed. While this saves you a few watts in operation, it also tends to lower the performance of the drive when compared to "normal" hard drives of a similar capacity.
We don't have an official confirmation, but we're willing to bet that the new 2TB drives will be using four 500GB platters. Seagate's already hit this areal density mark. It would make sense for Western Digital to be traveling along a similar storage timeline. Consequently, you should expect to see a Seagate counter to the Western Digital 2TB mark at some point in the future--but not immediately. We suspect Seagate has its hands full with its 1.5TB product and isn't quite ready to push away from this stopgap in favor of a brand-new storage product just yet.
What does that mean for the new WD20EADS 2TB Western Digital Drive? While its performance will undoubtedly end up being the slowest of the 2TB drives once more hit the market, its 500GB-per-platter areal density should be enough to push it past the performance all other current hard drives. That includes Western Digital's own 10,000 RPM Velociraptor drives, which just barely squeak out a performance edge against Seagate's 1.5TB products. Other than that, the stats of the new 2TB hard drive are pretty general. You'll get a 32MB cache and traditional SATA 3.0 Gb/s interface for your roughly $250 investment (American dollars).
This move now leaves Samsung as the only major hard drive manufacturer to not win a part of the storage race thus far. Hitachi was the first-to-market with a 1TB drive, Seagate was the first to break through the terabyte barrier with a 1.5TB drive, and Western Digital is now the capacity leader. Expect to see all four major players jockeying for position over the next six months as each preps a drive to try and beat the performance of its peers. It happened with single terabyte drives; it'll happen with two-terabyte drives.