Seagate starts shipping 8TB hard drives


Storage for consumer products including desktop PCs and laptops is going through a shift at the moment. The move is away from traditional hard drives and towards SSDs. Solid-state drives are much faster, much smaller, and much more energy efficient, and their pricing is coming down fast. But they can’t yet compete on storage capacity, and Seagate has just set the bar higher with an 8TB hard drive.

8TB of storage in a single 3.5-inch drive is a 2TB increase over the previous maximum, and it will come with a price premium as you’d expect. Typically you can pick up a 6TB hard drive for around $300, but these 8TB units could go for as much as $500 initially. Six months from now that will have changed, and it may actually take that long for stock to reach the consumer market.

Seagate’s focus for now is catering to its enterprise and cloud storage customers. 8TB drives ultimately mean more storage in the same space, which ends up being cheaper in the long term. You’re basically getting an extra 25% storage in the same footprint with lower overall power consumption.

As for home users, 8TB drives should become commonplace in 2015 and will allow your typical 2 and 4-bay NAS to hold 16TB and 32TB respectively, up from the 12TB and 24TB maximums of today. I don’t know anyone who needs those kinds of storage levels, and with entertainment consumption progressively becoming more of a streaming affair, does anyone need that much storage anymore?

External drives is where Seagate will probably make most of its money from these drives in the consumer market. An 8TB external hard drive, especially if they can get it to run off USB power, would be a tempting proposition. But don’t forget, we’ll be getting 10TB hard drives within a year.

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