Dell is the first computer system supplier to ship 1TB (1,000 gigabytes) hard drives targeted at users needing to store large amounts of digital media. The higher capacity is particularly needed for storing video content, such as high-definition video. This will affect consumers first but then business, particularly media-related businesses and applications. It’s a reversal of normal practice where business received higher-capacity disk drives first.

Dell vice president, Neil Hand, said: "This type of capability used to be available only to the largest corporations. With the spectacular advancement in hard drives and the engineering in our systems, we're now able to bring it to consumers."

The first Dell PCs to use the drives will be its own Alienware-branded gaming PCs. XPS systems will then follow suit. A check on the US Alienware site shows four 1TB drives can be shipped. The drives are not mentioned on the UK site yet.

Dell will use Hitachi GST's 1TB Deskstar 7K1000 drive spinning at 7,200rpm with a 3Gbps serial ATA interface. The drive uses perpendicular recording, has five platters, a read access time of 8.5 milliseconds and a write time of 9.2 milliseconds.

Dell is also launching a 'video time capsule service' - users can upload videos to where Dell will store them, initially on the 1TB drives, for a claimed 50 years.

Dell's 1TB drive is priced at $540 (£300).