Western Digital Ships First Helium-Filled 6TB 3.5-inch Hard Drives

Posted by at 2:39 pm on November 4, 2013

Western Digital today announced that after a year in development, it is shipping the 6TB Ultrastar He6 enterprise-class hard disk drive. Taking advantage of the inherent benefits of Helium, which is one-seventh the density of air, the new Ultrastar He6 drive features Western Digital’s 7Stac disk design with 6TB, making it the world’s highest capacity HDD aimed at cloud storage, massive scale deployments, disk-to-disk backup, and replicated or RAID environments in a data center environment.

Normal 3.5-inch hard drives, while sealed against dust impingement, are still blanketed in air. The Helium-filled hermetically-sealed drive dramatically reduces the turbulence caused by the spinning disk, cuts power consumption and results in a lower temperature within the disk drive.

With 6TB, 5.3 idle watts, a weight of 640g, running at 4C-5C cooler, and using either SATA or SAS connections, the new Ultrastar He6 lowers data center costs on virtually every level. Key benefits 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, and the best data density in a standard 3.5-inch form factor.

The 6TB HGST Ultrastar He6 hard drives will be available in the next few days. Drive pricing is not available, and will be tied to commodity pricing of Helium, a resource that is rapidly dwindling.

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