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HGST ships helium filled hard drive in UK with help from Netflix

6TB HDD claims to reduce power consumption by 23 percent
Mon Nov 04 2013, 16:04

DATA STORAGE FIRM HGST has started shipping the 6TB Ultrastar, which the firm claims is the "world's highest capacity hard disk drive" (HDD) and the first to be filled with helium.

Hard drives traditionally are filled with air, but HGST claims that using helium, which is seven times less dense than air, will reduce power consumption by 23 percent while increasing capacity by around 40 percent.


HGST announced plans to release the hard drive over a year ago when the firm said that each 3.5in unit has seven platters rather than the usual five, because it is able to place the platters closer together.

Now HGST has revealed that "cloud and research leaders" including Netflix, HP, Huawei Unified Storage and CERN worked with the company to help qualify the drive.

HGST claims that a helium filled environment imposes less drag on the spinning disks, which means that the drives create and emit less heat and noise.

"Through HGST's innovative and patented 'Helioseal' process, the Ultrastar He6 drive is the industry's first hermetically sealed helium filled HDD that can be cost-effectively manufactured in high volume," HGST said. "The breakthrough development of the hermetically sealed process is arriving just in time as key market requirements are colliding with HDD areal density constraints."

HGST said that the drive is idea for cloud storage, scale-out environments, disk-to-disk backup, and RAID environments.

When it announced the drive last year, we asked the firm whether other companies were planning to deliver similar models, but it said it had a good three to five year head start over its rivals.

"Even if a competitor takes apart our solution when we begin shipping, and tries to copy it, they still need time to create all the components as well as mature their design, technology and process," HGST said.

HGST said the drive is available from today. µ


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