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+ - Helium Filled Hard Disks Takes Flight with 6TB of Storage 3

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Lucas Mearian reports that it took Western Digital's more than a decade to develop a way to reliably seal helium gas inside of a hard drive but with 6 TB of storage, it was worth the wait. "I'd say helium is one of the major breakthroughs in the hard drive industry because you can only increase the platter areal density so much with today's technology," says Fang Zhang, an analyst at market researcher IHS. At one-seventh the density of air, helium produces less drag on the moving components of a drive — the spinning disk platters and actuator arms — which translates into less friction and lower operating temperatures. Sealing air out of the drive also keeps humidity and other contaminates from getting in and while the Ultrastar He6's 50% boost in capacity is impressive, what's most notable is the power reduction (PDF), Zhang says, because the high-capacity drives will be used in large data centers and cloud infrastructures. "Data is going to the moon. As we deploy solutions that are tens and hundreds of petabytes, anything you can do to increase density is a boon," says Jimmy Daley, director of Smart Storage at Hewlett-Packard. "We are seeing about 2-watt lower power on random workloads compared to today's 4TB. That's about 20% [power reduction]." However with helium shortages occurring right now and the price of helium skyrocketing, the question’s how much commercial demand might affect manufacturing costs in products that depend on the increasingly sparse element. It may be telling that HGST hasn’t announced a price for the Ultrastar He6 at this time."
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Helium Filled Hard Disks Takes Flight with 6TB of Storage

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  • This thing needs to be sealed really well to keep the helium in and keep normal air out. Why not dispense with the precious/expensive/rare element and go directly past go to 1/10 or 1/20 vacuum? Wipeout the competition with even more power reduction. Give SSDs a run. Depending on helium is a Bad Idea.

    • Helium is a very reliable and nonreactive element. Yes it has to be vacuum sealed very well. Yes, it is kinda crazy. But it is more efficient. Space wise at least.
    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Why not dispense with the precious/expensive/rare element and go directly past go to 1/10 or 1/20 vacuum?

      Mr Bernoulli might have something to say about that.

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