HGST Promises aims for 7TB hard drives with helium-filled HDDs

HGST announced today a new helium-filled hard drive platform which it says, will allow for increased capacity and could reduce the total cost of ownership for enterprise and cloud customers.

The first products which will debut in 2013 will allow HGST, which is now owned by Western Digital, to cram up to seven platters in a standard 3.5in from factor. Shoving more storage per unit volume will impact positively on power consumption, cooling and storage density.

HGST already has a hard disk drive with 1TB platters which means that in theory, you could shove up to seven 1TB into one helium-filled hard drive, delivering 7TB in total.

Replacing air by helium means less drag force as the gas is the second lightest (after Hydrogen) and inert as well. This translates into reduced mechanical power needed while helium itself has a more efficient thermal conduction which means that even a 7-platter drive will remain cooler.

HGST claims gains of up to 45 percent in watts-per-TB, with a prototype operating four degrees Celcius cooler tha a comparable hard drive using air.

It will be interesting to see whether Western Digital gets this breakthrough technology immediately after HGST launches its first helium-based products.