Seagate Begins Volume Shipments Of Helium-Filled 10TB Hard Drives

Seagate Begins Volume Shipments Of Helium-Filled 10TB Hard Drives

You may remember some talk of helium-filled hard drives a few years back, but like a lot of new technologies, it’s taken time to get the manufacturing processes into line to ship the hardware in bulk.

Seagate, for instance, has only now started moving its 10TB drives in volume. As you’d expect for massive capacities like this, the target is enterprise customers who will reap the most benefits of the helium infusion.

So, what does helium do inside a hard drive? It does plenty:

…A standard 3.5-inch HDD filled with helium can accommodate seven platters rather than five, dramatically raising the ceiling for storage capacity and reducing the weight to data ratio by 30 percent … Helium-filled drives are also sealed (to prevent gas leakage), letting them be liquid-cooled safely, unlike standard HDDs that cannot be submerged without risk of damage to the disks.

In addition, the drives can use up to 20-30 per cent less power and the weight can drop anywhere from 30-40 per cent. Already great numbers by themselves, but when you think about having hundreds of these in server racks, the savings really start to add up.

Of course, helium is not cheap — and neither is the technology. Seagate’s 10TB model goes for $US696, which is about two to three times the price of your average 8TB drive, but not utterly ridiculous, all things considered.

[Seagate, via Anandtech]

This post originally appeared on Gizmodo Australia.


  • Why does helium allow more platters?

    And how can it be lighter? If you’re adding more platters? Wouldn’t the other components still weigh the same?

    Is it lighter because helium is ‘lifting’ the drive up?


    • Yeah, kinda disappointing article – doesn’t tell us anything other than a headline.

    • Helium has less friction than air. The platters don’t need to be as mechanically as strong so they can be made thinner and lighter.

  • So you’re saying these are filled with the same stuff floating balloons are. Is this how Cloud Computing works?

  • The platters must be way thinner (therefore lighter) than before. You can have five plastic frisbees as appose to three ceramic dinner plates…

    Helium causes less friction than air which is one if the reasons it’s used instead of air. This improves the mechanics, requiring less power to spin up and run I guess.

    The rest is probably marketing hype…

  • pity helium is a finite resource

    as far as I’m aware science hasn’t been about to synthesize it .

    • As opposed to all the other finite resources in a hdd?
      And yes we can but it involves radiation. It’s a byproduct of radiative decay, thorium of uranium. Then mix it with other gasses and separate it. But it’s to expensive and complicated for commercial use compared to natural extraction.

  • Look I like to laugh at marketing fluff as much as anyone else but wow really…..
    “unlike standard HDDs that cannot be submerged without risk of damage to the disks”
    Did I miss the you should build your SAN in a chest freezer and fill it up with antifreeze memo? What are the power connectors made of?
    Or is just that you can take them into the bath with you and watch them fail to behave like a rubber duck then dry them off and plug them into your SAN.

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