What was the first 1TB hard disk drive HDD?

The rise of data-intensive applications like multimedia and web content in the early 2000s drove demand for higher capacity hard drives. This led to the introduction of the first 1 terabyte (TB) hard disk drive (HDD) in 2007, offering vastly improved storage capabilities for both businesses and consumers.

When was the first 1TB HDD introduced?

The first 1TB HDD was introduced in 2007 by Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. The exact announcement date was January 4, 2007 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

What was the model number of the first 1TB HDD?

The model number of Hitachi’s first 1TB HDD was the Deskstar 7K1000. It represented a major milestone as the first HDD to achieve a terabyte of storage capacity.

What was the form factor and interface?

The Deskstar 7K1000 had a 3.5-inch form factor and utilized the common SATA 3Gb/s interface. This allowed it to be easily incorporated into desktop PCs and entry-level servers for significantly expanded storage.

What was the data transfer speed and cache size?

Data transfer speed 300 MB/s
Cache size 32 MB

The 7K1000 had a maximum internal data transfer rate of 300 MB/s and featured a 32 MB cache buffer for improved performance when reading and writing data.

How was storage capacity achieved?

Hitachi achieved the massive 1TB capacity by utilizing perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) technology along with a record 489 gigabits per square inch areal density. This allowed more data bits to be stored on each part of the hard drive platters.

What market segments was the 1TB HDD targeted at?

The Deskstar 7K1000 was primarily targeted at the desktop PC market for consumers and small businesses. The combination of 1TB capacity, 3.5-inch size, and SATA interface made it well-suited for desktop storage upgrades.

How much did the 1TB HDD cost at launch?

The inaugural 1TB drive carried a substantial price premium at launch. Manufacturer’s suggested retail pricing was set at $399 in the United States. This worked out to around 40 cents per gigabyte.

How did the pricing compare against lower capacities?

To put the $399 MSRP into perspective, 500GB hard drives were priced at around $200 at the time. So while 1TB sounded like a major leap on paper, the cost per GB was still relatively high for early adopters.

When did 1TB HDDs become affordable for the mainstream?

The $399 launch price limited adoption mostly to early tech enthusiasts. It took around 18 months for 1TB drives to achieve more mainstream and budget friendly pricing in the $150 range. This pushed 1TB into the mainstream and rapidly accelerated adoption.

How rapidly was capacity scaled up after the first 1TB drive?

Capacity scaled up quickly after the milestone of 1TB was achieved. For example:

  • Seagate shipped a 1.5TB model in 2009
  • Hitachi introduced the first 2TB HDD in 2009
  • 3TB drives arrived in 2010

Higher capacities were enabled by increasing areal density through new technologies like helium-filled drives.

What was the power consumption and noise output?

Power consumption (active) 11 Watts
Power consumption (idle) 8 Watts
Acoustic noise (seek mode) 3.9 bels

Power consumption and acoustic noise were competitive with other desktop 3.5-inch HDDs of the time. However, usability in home environments benefitted from the relatively low noise output.

How did performance and reliability hold up?

The Deskstar 7K1000 delivered the performance and reliability expected from a Hitachi HDD. Lab tests by third parties like StorageReview showed sustained transfer speeds of up to 111 MB/s. Meanwhile, the annualized failure rate was respectable at 0.78% per year.

What technology advances made 1TB possible?

Key technology advances that enabled the 1TB milestone included:

  • Perpendicular magnetic recording – Allowed greater bit densities
  • Giant magnetoresistive heads – Provided accurate reading and writing of data
  • Smooth recording surface – Reduced potential errors from disk surface irregularities

What was the hard drive industry’s reaction?

The unveiling of the 1TB Deskstar 7K1000 took the hard drive industry by surprise. Competitors like Seagate and Western Digital had not expected this storage capacity milestone to be reached so soon. It took them almost a full year to introduce 1TB models of their own.

How critical was perpendicular recording?

Perpendicular recording was absolutely essential to reaching 1TB. Earlier longitudinal recording limited areal density. Perpendicular aligned the magnetic poles vertically rather than horizontally, enabling far greater storage capacity.

Did any patent disputes arise?

Hitachi was able to avoid patent disputes by pioneering advanced research into perpendicular recording ahead of competitors. They filed fundamental patents early, requiring other hard drive vendors to license Hitachi’s technology to create their own higher capacity drives.

What was the market response to 1TB HDDs?

Consumer and enterprise customers quickly realized the benefits, future-proofing their storage needs. The improved areal density and rapidly dropping cost per gigabyte made migrating to 1TB drives a relatively easy decision for many buyers, even at the initial premium price point.

How large was the early market for 1TB HDDs?

The market for 1TB HDDs in the first year was modest, driven by early adopters. Exact unit sales were not reported, but analysts estimated around 2 million 1TB drives shipped in 2007. Lower prices in 2008 and beyond opened up demand, with over 90 million 1TB drives produced in 2009.

What use cases were enabled by 1TB HDDs?

1TB hard drives enabled several new consumer and business use cases including:

  • Storing large media libraries of HD video and music
  • Running data intensive applications like multimedia editing
  • Supporting large databases without expansive SAN/NAS
  • Backing up remote offices to a single large external HDD

Did HDD reliability suffer from the density jump?

Industry experts were initially concerned that pushing to 1TB could reduce reliability. However, perpendicular recording technology proved to be stable. Overall failure rates did not increase substantially relative to prior generations of HDDs.

How fast was the transition from longitudinal to perpendicular recording?

The transition started around 2005 and rapidly accelerated through the late 2000s. By 2009, over 90% of hard drive areal density shipped was based on perpendicular recording. This marked one of the quickest and most disruptive technology shifts in HDD history.

What hard drive innovations followed perpendicular recording?

Other innovations building on perpendicular recording included:

  • 2009 – Helium-filled HDD enclosures to reduce internal turbulence and vibration
  • 2013 – Shingled magnetic recording to further increase areal density
  • 2014 – Dual actuator arms for faster data access

Could a 1TB HDD have happened with longitudinal recording?

Technically longitudinal recording still had room to scale up slightly in capacity. However industry consensus believes the complexity would have been excessive. Perpendicular recording provided a more viable path to 1TB and beyond.

How much demand was there for greater than 1TB drives?

Demand for multi-TB HDD capacities above 1TB emerged rapidly. This was fueled by the growth of digital content like video as well as expanding business data sets. 1TB ultimately proved to be just the beginning rather than the endpoint for HDD capacity increases through the late 2000s and 2010s.

Did HDD competitors face IP challenges attempting 1TB?

Yes, competitors like Seagate and Western Digital had to pay licensing fees to utilise patented perpendicular recording IP developed by Hitachi. However, these costs were relatively minor compared to the billions spent on storage R&D overall.


The introduction of the pioneering 1TB Deskstar 7K1000 hard drive by Hitachi in 2007 marked a major milestone in data storage history. It established perpendicular magnetic recording as the pathway to scale HDD capacities up by 10x or more versus prior longitudinal technology. Despite substantial initial pricetags, consumer and business adoption was fueled by the rapid growth in digital content. While flash and cloud storage have disrupted HDDs in recent years, the march towards higher capacities made 1TB look small, with drives scaling up to multiple terabytes on the path towards the first hard disk drive (HDD) to achieve 1 terabyte (TB) of storage capacity. The drive not only delivered unprecedented storage but blazed a trail towards a new era in data storage.