With nary a word to the masses, Hitachi has posted product pages for its first 3TB hard drives. The Deskstar 7K3000 and 5K3000 come in 1.5TB, 2TB and 3TB flavors -- the largest of which has a five 600GB platter design, as opposed to the four 750GB disk solution used by Western Digital's Caviar Green. Besides WD, Seagate also beat Hitachi to the 3TB milestone, announcing its 3TB FreeAgent GoFlex external storage drive back in June (which also packs five 600GB platters), but Seagate hasn't shipped a 3TB internal desktop offering yet.
Hitachi tries to differentiate itself by outfitting its drives with 6Gb/s SATA -- even if they can't utilize the extra headroom. As designated by the model numbers, Hitachi's 7K3000 spins at a speedy 7200RPM, while the 5K3000 has a slower, more energy efficient 5400RPM rotation. The 7K3000 is supposedly 27% faster than previous-generation products in PCMark Vantage testing scores, and improves idle power draw by 30%. Meanwhile, the 5K3000 boosts power savings by another 29% over the 7K3000, according to Hitachi's spec sheet.
Hitachi hasn't greeted the drives with a proper announcement yet, so we're not sure about pricing and availability. That said, it's worth noting that the new drives don't appear to come with a host bus adapter like the 3TB Caviar Green, so only a handful of machines will fully support them. To use a 3TB HDD for storage you need a 64-bit OS and an OS that supports GPT partitions, while a UEFI motherboard is required to create boot partitions larger than 2.19TB. If you're a little confused, Hitachi offers an explanation and a handy compatibility chart.