Hitachi said it is currently shipping limited numbers of the 4TB Deskstar 5K4000 ($400) hard drive mechanism in a self-installation kit. The drive has a 32MB cache buffer as well as Hitachi's power management features.
A stand-alone external Touro Desk drive ($420) and shipments to OEMs and other partners are to begin in the first quarter of 2012. Buyers of the external 4TB Touro Desk drive get 3GB of online storage for free.
Seagate's external drive is currently on back order on its website, priced at $300.
While solid-state drives are quickly gaining popularity in ultrabooks and smaller digital gadgets, hard drives are still the norm in laptop and desktop computers and offer far more storage for the price. But with prices falling and competition severe, the industry is undergoing a wave of consolidation.
This could be one of Hitachi's GST final product announcements. Western Digital said earlier this year it will acquire the hard drive unit of Hitachi for $4.3 billion in cash and stock, a deal expected to be completed early next year. Rival Seagate is paying $1.4 billion for the hard disk drive business of Samsung Electronics.