When hard disk drives first came into being, they were huge in terms of physical size, but not so much in terms of storage capacity. Even the hugest ones among them had capacities no more than a few megabytes (often less than ten), consumed a lot of energy during operation, and were not even suitable for use with conventional desktop computers.
The first hard disk drives suitable for desktop computers were also low-capacity ones, just smaller in size. As the years progressed, newer models of hard disk drives with larger storage capacities and faster access times entered the market, and they grew more and more affordable over time. While the earliest hard disk-equipped desktop computers had hard disk drives with capacities being measured in tens of megabytes, the count soon rose to hundreds of megabytes, and by the middle of the 1990s, most average computers came equipped with hard disk drives with storage capacities of a thousand megabytes, or one gigabyte. This was a huge leap from the very first days of the hard disk drive, and was a testament to the progress of technology.
However, progress did not stop. Hard disk drives kept getting faster and faster, and new interface technologies like SATA were introduced, and above all their storage capacities kept growing and growing. Within less than a decade of hard disk drives hitting the one gigabyte mark, drives with storage capacities of hundreds of gigabytes had become the norm. A few years later, at the beginning of 2007, the first hard disk drive with a capacity of one thousand gigabytes was introduced into the market. The manufacturer of this drive, the Deskstar 7K1000, was Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, and it initially retailed for a most lucrative price of less than US$ 400.
The once-huge gigabytes were quite inadequate as a unit of measurement for a drive such as this, and the term ‘terabyte’ (meaning a thousand gigabytes) was called up in order to address this issue. Just as gigabytes were abbreviated as GB, terabytes also came to be abbreviated as TB.
Many competitors also responded to Hitachi’s new hard disk drive with their own ones, and the war was on. Western Digital, a reputed manufacturer of hard disk drives for many years, responded with their Caviar WD1001FALS, which despite not earning overwhelmingly positive reviews, continues to remain a heavy-hitting contender in the market. Seagate, another renowned hard disk drive manufacturer, also came through with their new Barracuda drive, as did Samsung with their SpinPoint F1. Many manufacturers also began to produce external and more portable versions of said drives in order to increase their appeal.
Most of the 1TB hard disk drives are quite similar in terms of construction, and have more or less identical appearances. Their access times are quite similar, with the expensive ones usually being faster. The RPM (revolutions per minute) counts of the drives are also important factors when judging their performance. A 5,400-RPM drive is considerable slower than a 7,200-RPM one.
The acceptance of 1TB hard disk drives in the market has grown in leaps and bounds ever since they have emerged, but most careful customers are hesitant to buy them. Due to the increase in storage capacity, the drive faces more stress during operation, and has often been known to crash fatally. Although the initial wave of high failure rates of 1 TB drives has subsided, they are still perceived to be somewhat unreliable, and are certainly not for everyone. Also, putting all your files in one massive drive is akin to putting all your eggs in one basket, which is a bad, bad idea unless you have backups. Therefore, think before you buy.