Drive capacity has increased incrementally over the past several decades. What was once a giant piece of hardware that held very little information is now a small device that fits in your pocket, capable of holding hundreds of high-definition movies and more music than someone could listen to during their entire lifetime.
In fact, if you have US$200, you can own a 4 TB GoFlex external drive from Seagate that features a USB 3.0 connection. Here’s the kicker: the 4 TB GoFlex is a 5-platter drive. This means that each platter can hold 800 GB of data, making it one of the most compact and robust stand-alone drives on the market.
Currently available at US$179, the Seagate Barracuda XT is a single 3 TB internal drive that operates at 7200 RPM and features three internal platters that each hold 1 TB of data.
This alone would tell you that 5 TB couldn’t be that far away, and a Seagate representative hinted in a recent interview that such a device could very well be available in a matter of months.
As Christian from Seagate explained, having multiple 1 TB platters inside the confines of a standard internal hard drive is already being done, and now that Seagate is producing 5-platter drives, an announcement of a 5 TB external drive couldn’t be far away.
That being said, one can only imagine what kind of storage capacity could be made available to a consumer through the use of a multi-drive NAS or storage server in the near future. Where 1 TB was previously thought an impossible space to fill, 5 TB (or more) could give everyone the ability to store a lifetime’s worth of information at only a fraction of the fortune corporations were spending for the same space just years ago.
The next question that comes to mind is how quickly this steady increase in storage capacity will be mirrored in the world of SSD. If so, how far are we away from a 1, 2, or even 5 TB solid-state drive?