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Hard drives: Seagate goes green, Hitachi HDDs hit 3 TB

We know, we know: for most people hard drives aren’t very exciting, but until the world is completely converted over to SSDs and ubiquitous always-reliable cloud storage they’re going go be part of our lives for a while. And storage developers Seagate and Hitachi have some new HDDs that can turn some heads: Seagate’s new Barracuda Green drives sport low power consumption and smart material usage, while Hitachi’s new 3 TB Deskstar hard drives can offer their complete storage capacity to 32-bit Windows XP machines that normally cap out at 2.2 TB—with no add-on hardware required.

First up, the Seagate Barracuda Green hard drive is essentially a rebadge of Seagate’s earlier Barracuda LP, although the drive includes Seagate’s new SmartAlign technology that leverages the drive’s 4K sectors without requiring any additional hardware to optimize drive performance. Plus, the drives are low power with quiet performance—making them ideal for low-power PCs and storage systems—yet manage a 5,900 RPM spin rate. At least 70 percent of the materials used in the drives can be recycled, and all the drives use low-halogen components to reduce environmental impact. The drives are available in 1 TB, 1.5 TB, and 2 TB capacities, with the 2 TB edition carrying a suggested price of $159.99.

Not to be outdone, Hitachi is launching hard drives with 3 TB capacities, including the HItachi XL Desktop External Hard Drive (which features USB 2.0 connectivity and a $249.99 price tag for the 3 TB version), and its new Deskstar 7K3000 desktop hard drive kit. The Deskstar 7K3000 kit comes with a special trick, however: the drive’s entire 3 TB capacity is available to 32-bit Windows XP systems, without the addition of any special hardware. (The drive is also fully compatible with other 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X—some users will just need to download drivers). Folks with Windows Vista or Windows 7 should consult Hitachi’s compatibility guide if they want to use the drive as a boot drive on a 32-bit system. The drive sports a 6 Gb/s SATA interface, a 64 MB buffer, 7,200 rpm spin rate, and comes with all the mounting screws and instructions necessary for installation. The 3TB version of the Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 is available now for $249.99.