HGST ships 6TB hard drive filled with helium

New drive is set to lower total cost of ownership for customers, and beef up capacity in mass-storage environments

HGST today announced that it’s shipping the world’s highest capacity hard drive, its 6TB Ultrastar He6, which is a drive that was first revealed in September of 2012. It’s a hard drive that has been hermetically sealed with helium, which HGST says is part of the company’s HelioSeal design that will enable higher capacity hard drives for years to come.

By sealing helium in the airtight hard drive, HGST has been able to increase the areal density without increasing issues pertaining to heat. It has enabled HGST to install seven platters (HGST calls this its 7Stac design) and increase the capacity of a single drive, all while keeping the same height as an air-filled, five-platter hard drive.

Compared to a traditional, air-filled, 4TB hard drive, HGST claims that its HelioSeal, 6TB Ultrastar He6 hard drive has a lower power consumption (5.3 Watts when idle), a lighter weight (640g), and that it runs noticeably cooler (by 4-5 degrees Celsius). These traits should make it a drive that is sought after in data centre environments, where cooling and power consumption are major issues.

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In a press release today, vice president of product marketing at HGST, Brendan Collins, said that HGST “is at the forefront delivering a revolutionary new solution that significantly improves data center TCO on virtually every level”, in reference to the drive’s power, cooling and density traits. He also said that the new technology will “serve as the future building block for new products and technologies moving forward”.

Some of the technologies that will be implemented in helium-filled drives include shingled magnetic recording (SMR), and heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR), which are technologies that HGST says will push the areal density envelope for 3.5in drives over the next few years.

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