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HGST ships its helium-filled 6TB Ultrastar He6 3.5-inch HDD

by Mark Tyson on 5 November 2013, 12:15

Tags: Hitachi (TYO:6501)

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Data storage specialist company HGST, part of Western Digital, has announced a new range of hermetically sealed, helium-filled HDDs. On Monday the firm began its first shipments of 6TB Ultrastar He6 hard disk drives (HDDs). These are the most capacious standard sized 3.5-inch HDDs around, packing 6TB of storage into seven platters within the standard Z-height of the 3.5-inch form factor.

In a press release HGST explains the benefits of using a sealed helium filled environment for the spinning disks in its Ultrastar He6 HDDs. We are told that helium is just one seventh the density of air which creates less friction with the high speed spinning disks. The new Ultrastar He6 thus brings to the industry the lowest power consumption with the best watts-per-TB performance.

Increased capacity, lower power consumption, lower operating temperature

Key benefits of the Ultrastar He6 HDD when compared to a 3.5-inch, five-platter, air-filled 4TB drive include:

  • 23 percent lower idle power per drive
  • 49 percent better watts-per-TB
  • operates at 4-5°C cooler
  • 50 percent higher capacity in a standard 3.5-inch form factor
  • 50g lighter even with two more disks, offering 50 percent more capacity
  • 38 percent lower weight-per-TB

In the future HGST will be making more use of the helium platform for new technologies like shingled magnetic recording (SMR) and heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) where HGST will continue to push the HDD areal density envelope. “Not only is our new Ultrastar helium hard drive helping customers solve data centre challenges today, our mainstream helium platform will serve as the future building block for new products and technologies moving forward. This is a huge feat, and we are gratified by the support of our customers in the development of this platform,” explained Brendan Collins, vice president of product marketing, HGST

These Ultrastar He6 HDDs are aimed at big enterprise customers and HGST have several ‘big data’ customers lined up for these new drives including big names such as HP, Netflix and CERN. To such large operations the TCO advantages of deploying Ultrastar He6 HDDs will be significant.

HGST guarantees its hermetic helium seal for a period of five years.

HEXUS Forums :: 26 Comments

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I guess they mean the helium they're using is 1/7th the density of air, considering you can compress or expand gases to quite a huge range of densities…
Would a Vacuum give better results
Now this is some innovation… meh, I don't like the sound of 7 platters plus don't really trust HGST.

@Jiamenguk 1/7th density at same atmospheric pressure, volume, temp. etc. presumably.
Nice warranty on them!
David Wheeldon;3097145
Would a Vacuum give better results

Only until you loaded the heads on the platters! The heads fly on a cushion of air/gas above the platters. If the chamber was evacuated, there would be nothing for the heads to fly in!