According to reports from Softpedia and an Estonia-based PC news website, X-bit, Seagate is now shipping its 1TB disk drive, exactly on the schedule it set itself at the beghinning of this year.

Bizarrely both reports are dated on June 7th or 8th, the very time last week when Seagate publicly announced a 250GB 3.5-inch drive.

On June 7th Seagate announced its single platter 250GB drive in its Barracuda 7200.10 line, with a record areal density of 180 Gbits/sq in. By putting four of these platters in one case the 1TB capacity level is reached, 250GB more than the previous 750GB range topper.

Ayear or so earlier, on July 23, 2006, on DL.TV a Seagate SVP, Brian Dexheimer, said a 1TB Seagate drive would arrive before Christmas 2006, and cost less than $500 (less than 50 cents/GB).

The delayed 1TB Seagate drive is two months behind rival Hitachi GST. Most main disk drive using OEMs want to dual-source drives so the delay should not impact Seagate sales significantly.

The new drive is in the Barracuda 7200.10 family, meaning it spins at 7,200rpm and is a serial ATA (SATA) drive, destined for use in capacity-centric applications such as gaming and multi-media. It's likely that this initial version could be a consumer drive with the enterprise version following hard on its heels and destined for secondary storage, virtual tape libraries and on-line archives.

Nexsan has just announced arrays using Hitachi's 1TB SATA drive. That drive has five platters and ten heads.

Seagate's 1TB drive has, according to the X-bit report, a 16MB cache, a SATA-300 interface (SATA 2 at 3Gb/sec) with native command queuing. If it's like the other Barracuda 7200.10 drives it will have a 4.16msecs average latency.

Seagate may say its drive is more reliable than the Hitachi GST drive because it has fewer platters and heads. Pricing is thought to be around $400 (c£210 at ordinary conversion rates).