Computers

WD packs 12 TB of storage into latest helium-based hard drive

WD packs 12 TB of storage into...
Western Digital has unveiled its new helium-based hard drive, with 12 TB capacity
Western Digital has unveiled its new helium-based hard drive, with 12 TB capacity
View 1 Image
Western Digital has unveiled its new helium-based hard drive, with 12 TB capacity
1/1
Western Digital has unveiled its new helium-based hard drive, with 12 TB capacity

HGST has unveiled the Ultrastar He12, the fourth generation of its helium-based hard drives. Cramming 12 TB of storage space into the standard 3.5-in form factor, the new drive is also faster, more energy efficient and more stable, to help businesses and data centers manage ever-increasing loads of data.

Helium may seem an odd choice, but HGST claims that the gas is key to the improved speeds and stability. At about a seventh of the density of plain old air, sealing helium into the device lets the platters spin with less drag, which reduces the power consumption. The company says that also lets them shrink the discs down to pack more in, and this new model comes with eight of them – one up on previous versions – for increased capacity.

The previous version was built with shingled magnetic recording (SMR) technology, which is designed for better density by storing data on overlapping tracks like roof shingles, rather than in parallel. For this version, HGST has gone back to the tried-and-true perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) system, which is supposed to be more reliable.

The Ultrastar He12 comes with either a 12 Gb/s SAS or 6 Gb/s SATA interface, and the first is backwards compatible with data centers using 6 Gb/s SAS systems. For added security, there's an Instant Secure Erase feature to make sure sensitive data is really gone. On the reliability front, the new drives have a mean time between failures (MTBF) rating of 2.5 million hours, an extra half a million hours over the previous models.

HGST's parent company, Western Digital, says that the new Ultrastar He12 hard drives have begun shipping, but doesn't offer anything in the way of pricing details yet.

Source: Western Digital

6 comments
FranzHofer
could hydrogen be a better alternative to helium?
guzmanchinky
I started my career in IT converting computers from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95. Using floppy discs. So this kind of capacity is amazing. That said, in 20 year it will be laughed at for being so little...
Mike Vidal
They are a bit over 2.5K depending on the setter
McDesign
I think hydrogen is hard to seal in, with its tiny molecule.
Gregg Eshelman
Helium is difficult to keep inside of pretty much anything. What miracle materials do these drives use?
Big Mook
Yeah, helium is used to check for air-tight conditions in all kinds of industries, so whatever these guys are doing to keep the helium in check is way beyond any drive manufacturing process we've known up to now.