Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 3TB HDD review

Hi-cap, hi-speed - SATA 6Gbps for the win?

TODO alt text

Hitachi deskstar 7k3000 3tb hdd

So what we have here then is a hard drive with colossal capacity (2.79TB formatted) matched with excellent performance so therefore everything must be rosy.

But unfortunately it's not.

There is a very big fly in the ointment and that's how Windows sees drives over 2.19TB especially if you want to boot from it. Mac OS X or Linux users have no such problems but if you using Windows then you are faced by a couple of constraints.

First off you need a motherboard with a UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) BIOS, like the new Sandy Bridge boards. There are a few around but they are by no means common and you need a 64-bit OS (Vista or Windows 7) and one that will create and use GPT partitions.

And if you're still an XP user then forget about it as it doesn't support drives this big at all.

To use the drive just as a data drive isn't straightforward either, if you want to use more than 2.2TB of its capacity. First off you need an OS that supports Long LBA addressing such as Windows 7 or Vista, a GUID partition table (GPT) instead of the usual master boot record (MBR) tables and hard drive drivers that support 2.2TB and above drives.

Whereas the old MBR tables restrict a disks partition size to 2.19TB, GPT allows for an unimaginable 9.4 zettabytes.

Yes, that's an awful lot of zeros after the comma.

That said though it is an incredibly fast spinning platter drive. Compared to the SATA 3Gbps Western Digital Caviar Green the SATA 6Gbps interface this Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 runs on pushes it far out in front of the competition in performance terms alone.

At £167 it's not that cheap, but that's still less than 6p for every GB in there.

But if you are in any doubt if your system can handle one of these drives then Hitachi have got a pretty comprehensive guide available on their website.

We liked:

Huge capacity combined with a fast spin speed and backed by a super fast interface and cache makes this a very impressive single drive, not only that but it's impressively quiet while it does it.

We disliked:

It's not really the fault of the drive but to get the drive to boot or to get its full capacity into use takes a bit of faffing about, and requires you to have the right combinations of hardware to get the best out of it.

Western Digital got around the problem by bundling a controller card in with the 3TB Caviar Green but Hitachi leave it up to you to sort out.

Final word:

A stunningly fast drive with huge capacity but only those with the most up-to-date hardware and OS need apply.

Tech Specs

Product TypeHard Drive
Buffer64 MB
Product FamilyDeskstar 7K3000
Drive InterfaceSATA
Drive Width3.5"
Drive Interface StandardSATA/600
Brand NameHGST
Drive TypeInternal
Storage Capacity3 TB
Rotational Speed7200 rpm
Height26.1 mm
Width101.6 mm
Depth147 mm
Product Series7K3000
ManufacturerHGST, A Western Digital Company
Product ModelHDS723030ALA640
Product NameDeskstar 7K3000 HDS723030ALA640 Hard Drive
Product LineDeskstar
Manufacturer Part Number0F12450
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

The Deskstar 7K3000 is Hitachi's first hard drive to deliver an enormous three terabytes of storage capacity and 7200 RPM performance in a standard 3.5-inch form factor. The 7K3000 is also the first Hitachi hard drive with a 6Gb/s SATA interface, which along with its 64MB cache buffer delivers a big boost to performance over the previous generation product. The Deskstar 7K3000 is designed to allow manufacturers to leverage the benefits of the latest components and operating systems to deliver high-performance, high-capacity, power-efficient systems. Manufacturers planning to use the highest capacity 3TB drive in systems should consult the Hitachi High Capacity Technology Brief. Deskstar 7K3000 is also available in 2TB and 1.5TB models that accommodate existing systems, as well as new designs.

Weight (Approximate)690 g