February 28, 2006 11:47 AM PST

Coming soon: The 8-terabyte desktop

You can never be too rich, be too thin or have too much hard drive capacity, according to VoodooPC.

The gamer PC specialist later this year will launch a desktop PC with 16 hard drives, according to Raul Sood, VoodooPC president.

In all, the system will be capable of holding eight terabytes of data. That's the same amount of information you could store on the paper from 400,000 trees, according to a UC Berkeley research study. Academic research libraries typically contain about 2TB of data.

VoodooPC's hard drive obsession comes courtesy of Vista, the new operating system coming from Microsoft later this year. Microsoft and PC makers will promote Vista as a way to turn PCs into home entertainment centers. Video, and in particular high-definition video, can gobble up storage fast.

Depending on the standard and the compression, HD video can require anywhere from 11 to 410 gigabytes per hour of video. (1,000GB make up 1TB.)

"Storage is going to be where it's at with Vista," Sood said. "I think Vista is more of a (increasing the) storage play than a memory play. There will be a lot more emphasis on storage."

Usually, memory makers are the ones rejoicing when a new Microsoft OS comes out because the upgrade typically prompts PC makers to substantially boost the amount of memory in their boxes.

Fully outfitted systems from VoodooPC won't be for those susceptible to sticker shock. PCs with 8TB of storage might cost $8,000 to $9,000, Sood said. Still, the company will likely sell 1TB systems with Vista. It sells 1TB systems now for about $3,000.

Hard drives prices have, however, been dropping rapidly. Storage costs for PC manufacturers and distributors has been about 55 cents per gigabyte, says IDC analyst Dave Reinsel. He said prices are likely to continue to drop from 15 percent to 20 percent annually.

Vista will also motivate customers to move into 64-bit computing. Microsoft has been selling a 64-bit version of Windows for around ten months, but few consumers actually buy systems with it, according to Sood and others. Few applications exist to work with it. In fact, most people who buy computers with 64-bit processors will use 32-bit software.

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PC company, home entertainment, 64-bit, Microsoft Windows Vista, hard drive


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A SONY Bluray killer
Hmm, 8 terabyte killer pc, who needs sony's rootkitted bluray with this baby!

Go for it!
Posted by heystoopid (691 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Anyone who know's that hard drives fail!
I just recently had a drive get corrupted and lost a lot of info. Storage space is great, and so is a terabyte, but that DOES NOT get rid of the need for SUPER High Capacity Back-up mediums. it actually increases the need for Blue Ray if you ask me.
Posted by Hydrofirex (9 comments )
Link Flag
Waste of money, here's why
8TB of data is a backup nightmare. Where would you back all of that up to? Even if you create a RAID 5 or better, what happens if you lose the whole box?

Something as simple as a power supply failure/spike could roast all the drives at once.

Nice idea, but logistically unpractical at this point. You can't just pick up 8TB and move it somewhere without spendings lots of cash.
Posted by Mr. Network (92 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I agree...
It seems hard drive and computer companies only seem to care about what they can do to make the consumer masses go ooooh... awwwww. They as well as everyone else in the computer storage business don't seem to give hoot one about an affordable, reliable, fast way to back up this data.

I have almost 900GB in my current system with 6 drives. There is no way to back up that much data. Even using hard drives, it like the 10MB hard drive days and backup to floppies, except your using much more expensive hard drives.

Someone needs to come out with an affordable tape solution. I know tape is dead, but I think in the long run if they could get the storage capacity up, make it faster and fix it so that you can pull data off a tape that has some damage (like pulling files from a damaged floppy, CD or hard drive. You may not get everything but you at least wouldn't loose everything) and they kept it affordable (just a few hundred $200 to $250) and the tapes affordable ($9.95 to $19.95). They would do pretty good.

Posted by Heebee Jeebies (632 comments )
Link Flag
UR Right
My nightly backup at work is a bit less than 2TB and it's a handful. And I've got a bunch of "pro" toys to help me do the job.

At home, I prefer external firewire drives. My main box has 2x250 sata drives which is plenty for my work-in-process (photo/video).

I use Lacie firewire 800 external drives for storage, and offsite backup. They've got great performance and are reasonably priced, and I can add more to the system as needed.

IMO, too many people blow their budget on the primary setup, then do nothing to protect the valuable part of their system - the data.
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Link Flag
You mean you don't have a Symmetrix frame in your house that you can use as data vault for backing up your client machines? Damn how do you get by without a decent SAN at home?.... must be hell. :)
Posted by waywardvariable (25 comments )
Link Flag
ITunes killer
A PC capable of storing every song on ITunes - if you have $2 million. Consider that price model dead.
Posted by noker1 (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Downloaded Movie
Let's see, downloading a movie at 277KBs (I get 250 to 450 on my cable modem) equals 1 GB in an hour. If I was downloading a 10GB HD movie, it'll take 10 hours, depending on compression.

Sounds like video-on-demand and Blu-Ray / HD-DVD will still have a market.
Posted by regulator1956 (577 comments )
Reply Link Flag
your speed
is being throttled by your provider.

Cable speeds can reach up to and beyond 10 MB.

I know that dsl can get up to 10 MB speeds too now.

So if your provider is limiting you, see if another player in town has a better deal.
Posted by techguy83 (295 comments )
Link Flag
Guys... for a tech newspaper you're really slacking.
1 Terrabyte = 1024 Gigabytes
Posted by unborracho (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
No 1 TB of HD space =
1000GB. For some reason hard drive manufacturers always measure their HD capacities in metric units. See

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terabyte" target="_newWindow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terabyte</a>
Posted by indrakanti (90 comments )
Link Flag
you're wrong
actually, only a kilobyte is defined in terms of powers of 2. Specifically, one KB is 2^10 bytes or 1024 bytes.

Everything else scales up from that. So, one MB is 1000 KB and 1 GB 1000 MB and one TB 1000GB. If you want the value in bytes, you need to propagate the math up from a KB.
Posted by zboot (168 comments )
Link Flag
How 'bout that copy editor?
"'I think Vista is more of a (increasing the) storage play than a memory play. There will be a lot more emphasis on storage.'

"Usually, memory makers are the ones rejoicing when a new Microsoft OS comes out because the upgrade typically prompts PC makers to substantially boost the amount of memory in their boxes."

What the heck is that parenthetical doing in there? I think we understand what the guy is saying, and the next paragraph explains it anyways. The added words aren't even grammatical.
Posted by (54 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"Vista will also motivate customers to move into 64-bit

I could have swore I just read the other day, when they released all
the versions of Vista that would ship, that it was noted there wasn't
going to be a 64-bit version.
Posted by TheTSArt1 (16 comments )
Reply Link Flag
No, one of vista's big things was to run on 64 bit, heck you can by XP in 64 bit, why wouldn't Vista run in 64, true, most can't even run 64, but still...

As for backing up HDD, just do what I do, I have two HDD, NOT in a RAID, one has my copy of windows, the other has everything else. (one is 20, one is 60). Sure, that is only 80 gig, I am running thin, but its enough to get me by. I simply use norton ghost to ghost my 20 gig drive onto a file on my 60, and can back it up from there. If my 20 fails, I have a copy, and if my 60 fails, all of my really important files are on DVD-RW, but, I still keep plenty of copies on my 20 gig.

BTW, there is a paranoia about HDD failing, they don't. There are HDD 10+ years old, still chugging along without major problems, I mean, over time the data will get messed up, but the drives themselves work fine.

YOu are telling me that today, with all the advancements in tech., that a HDD I have will fail in like 3 years? I doubt it, its possible. But then if you don't have your important files backed up, your HDD deserves to be fryed.
Posted by jzsaxpc (43 comments )
Link Flag
Actually, EVERY edition of Vista is Either 32 or 64 bit... of the same disc...
So when you buy one edition, it comes with both 32 and 64bit in the box!
Did you READ the info?
Posted by theKingRich (5 comments )
Link Flag
Why would you need 8 TB anyways?
Ok, lets look at XP, it uses what, like 8 gig? Max? Oh, and those word files take up so much HDD space at 200k a pop. Alright? Unless you are downloading illigal music like mad (or ripping movies is more like it), you really don't need that much space. I am sorry, I have like a week's worth of music on my computer (and iPod), with well over 900 songs, and it is like 8 gig, thats it.

How much **** do you have on there anyways? I can't think of a single program that is over 5 gig too.

Point is, I'll spend the 100 bucks, get a 120 gig HDD, yeah, it'll last me for plenty long. Besides, you need to keep it orginized. Just because you have a filing cabinite the size of New Jersey, doesn't mean the solution is to enlarge the filing cabinet, the solution is orginizing the files. Once you get rid of all the blank paper that you don't use, well, then you can enlarge it.
Posted by jzsaxpc (43 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Here is why you might need 8TB .
HD DVR at full resolution is as little as 50 hours.
Posted by dave23356 (6 comments )
Link Flag
Re: Why would you need 8 TB anyways?
I think the article pointed that out quite clearly.. HD video takes a *lot* of space.

If you're not ever going to have a HD PVR, then stick with your 120 gigs. Me, I'm using about 1TB just for my standard def pvr.
Posted by armando_m (7 comments )
Link Flag
who needs 8TB ? Me, that's who
You hit on the answer in your first sentence - "ripping movies". I have many dozens of old 8mm camera tapes and now a lot of DV tapes, mostly amateur home movies I have shot over the years, and they represent priceless treasures of memories, of my children as children, my now dead father and many other deceased relatives, and hundreds of fantastic family moments. I am gradually extracting them to digital files. The more recent ones and the oldest ones get worked on immediately and edited onto dvd. The others I keep as avi files to make for easy future editing. If I simply extracted them all and wrote them to playable dvd format and deleted the original files, I would not be able to edit them in future. One hour of video tape extracted in the highest quality format comes to about 17GB. And since there is currently no easy extractable medium to write a single 17GB file to (except tape which is a pain in the proverbial) then I just keep buying hard disk. I have a little short of 2TB today and 8Tb does not seem so far away. One day I will have the time to edit the files and the delight these movies bring to today's generation is almost immeasurable. It is certainly worth the few bucks I spend on hard disk, which is anyway only a fraction of the value of the time I spend on the project.
Posted by PaulM (10 comments )
Link Flag
I've over 5400 songs
And they alone take up 25 gig. Add that to my collection of movies
and it adds up real quick. It only took me 8 months to max out my
PMG5's 200Gig HD
Posted by X=0 (52 comments )
Link Flag
you know what.
Personally, i have around 60 gigs of music, another 80 of video and none of it is illegal. When you have computers like those of media center capability, and then add upcoming High Definition support, 8 terabytes can be as little as 16 hours of video, which is truly nothing.
Posted by halidaee (2 comments )
Link Flag
I can remember....
.... when people thought that a 40 MB HD could hold the universe.
Now I'm running 4.5 TB of HD on my LAN just with the Mac's - with
750 GB waiting on the shelf. No DVR, just video productions with
working and back-up copies. So 8 TB with DVR capabilities is quite

And in a few years, 8 TB hard drives just might be cheap buys.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Keep it relative
I remember back when the first GIG HDD arrived on the market. Many people complained, "Why would any one need a 1 GB HDD?....I use word and my 2d adventure game is fine on my 40MB HDD."

You may not need a 8-terabyte HDD *THIS YEAR*...but we are entering the TeraByte era where like the begining of the GigaByte era will progress as applications, games and increasing multimedia storage demands.

You may want to copy and past people comments from this and review them 10 years from now. It may be entertaining when we start to enter the next era...what is after terabyte by the way?
Posted by minami.senju (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
10 to the 15th power bytes.

Terabyte is 10 the 12th power bytes.

And I thought the 40MB HDD on my old 286 was a lot of storage.
Posted by nightveil (133 comments )
Link Flag
what is after terabyte by the way?
* 1000 Bytes = 1 Kilobyte
* 1000 Kilobytes = 1 Megabyte
* 1000 Megabytes = 1 Gigabyte
* 1000 Gigabytes = 1 Terabyte
* 1000 Terabytes = 1 Petabyte
* 1000 Petabytes = 1 Exabyte - In 2000, 3 exabytes of information was created
* 1000 Exabytes = 1 Zettabyte
* 1000 Zettabyte = 1 Zottabyte
* 1000 Zottabyte = 1 Brontobyte - that is a 1 followed by 27 zeroes
Posted by wtfchuck (1 comment )
Link Flag
64-bit + Tera-storage?!!!
Wow! Imagine the number of songs and movies and pictures I can store and organize. Imagine how much power running multiple applications at the same time -- muti=screen: one screen on entertainment, another on games and then maybe another on work.

Then that same PC may serve as your home network's "home server" synching and serving your little devices as well like laptops, tablets, handtops, PDA/phones and multimedia devices...

Only one problem... Microsoft doesn't have a family license program for their products. How I wish...
Posted by Mendz (519 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hitachi 7K1000 1000GB SATA Hard Drive
Hitachi is now selling 1tb drives so now voodoo will only have to have 8 drives :)
Posted by Busboy2 (36 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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