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Seagate's 6TB HDDs Coming in Early 2Q 2014

Currently, Western Digital is the only company with a 6 TB drive on the market, dubbed as the Ultrastar He6. This drive is a world's first in that it uses helium, is hermetically sealed, and has the largest capacity on the market. The helium-based drive was released back in November, and now Seagate is vowing to offer its own 6 TB solution this April.

"We are continuing to expand our offering of high capacity drives with our six-disk, 6 TB drive shipping early next quarter," said Steve Luczo, chairman and chief executive of Seagate during a conference call with investors and financial analysts.

Unfortunately, Seagate did not provide additional details other than the drive will be marketed to the enterprise sector. Obviously, Seagate can't use the same technology that helped Western Digital cram seven platters in a standard 3.5 form factor, but it may be similar.

In the case of Western Digital's drive, the company reports that it provides 23 percent lower idle power and 49 percent better watts-per-TB. The helium-based drive also has the best density footprint in a standard 3.5-inch form factor, providing 50 percent higher capacity. The drive is also lighter in weight when compared to a standard 3.5-inch drive with 5 platters (38 percent lower weight-per-TB).

Helium's density is one-seventh that of air, meaning less drag force acting on the spinning platter stack, which in turn reduces the power used by the motor. The use of helium also allows the platters to be mounted closer together and the data tracks closer together because the fluid flow forces buffeting the platters and arms are reduced. A helium drive will run cooler and emit less noise thanks to helium's thermal conduction and lower sheer forces.

Seagate's solution is expected to have six platters that use Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR) technology (pdf). The solution may also use Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) technology that would have 25 percent higher density, allowing Western Digital to offer 7.5 TB capacity in a typical 3.5-inch form factor.

We've reached out to Western Digital for a comment and we'll update here when the company responds.

  • Kelthar
    If the HDD is sealed, won't that cause damage under higher/lower pressures due to pressure differences? Normal HDDs have a hole to equalize pressure, and I assume that if no damage would be caused then this hole wouldn't be necessary: yet it's there.
    Reply
  • minerva330
    Their justification for using helium is interesting. I wonder how much real life difference it makes versus marketing.

    I have only filled 2tb of my 3tb home server, one of these and I would be set for a good long while
    Reply
  • danwat1234
    SMR reduces write performance. Just increase areal densities with HAMR and bit patterning. I know, better said than done.
    Reply
  • racistpancake
    Damn, that's a good hard drive. Um, can you guys help me out? Pc gamer to pc gamer. My friend has very little money and is not exactly in a good place right now. I want to introduce him to the world of pc gaming, so I started a fund for him. If you can donate anything please do, as it is much appreciated. If you cannot donate however, I understand that you are most likely in a situation similar to my friends. Thank you all for your support. https://mobile.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/wapapp?cmd=_flow&CONTEXT=X3%2d7SZn2ExXucINxlliZ%5f05NdFsrIIpaV9TcRYNLL%5fGiOwm9XgEZzWKQeV0&SESSION=5NCG%5fHmzmS9zquY7nmfeM8BiaGH6CS%2d2lv6gRaFyizqQWNl6w%2dzEIdF31B4&guest_xo=#m
    Reply
  • Tanquen
    So that's 5.4 real TBs.
    Reply
  • wdmfiber
    12598895 said:
    If the HDD is sealed, won't that cause damage under higher/lower pressures due to pressure differences? Normal HDDs have a hole to equalize pressure, and I assume that if no damage would be caused then this hole wouldn't be necessary: yet it's there.
    If you sealed something at sea level and tossed it out in space. It would only have ~14.7 psi of air pressure in it. You could over inflate a car tire by that much and it wouldn't blow. Ever take a HDD apart? The frame is impressive. Typically a block of aluminum that has been machined out. If it was sealed up, it would likely take more than 1 bar(atmospheric) to blow the metal cover off.

    I could drill a hole in the frame of one. Tap it, screw in a standard male air compressor adapter and pressurize the thing up to 130 psi. But this 6tb drive is probably going to be several hundred dollars. Kind of a waste just to see how "over built" it is(& satisfy curiosity).

    Reply
  • SirGCal
    If the HDD is sealed, won't that cause damage under higher/lower pressures due to pressure differences? Normal HDDs have a hole to equalize pressure, and I assume that if no damage would be caused then this hole wouldn't be necessary: yet it's there.
    Helium is 1/7th the density of air. That's the whole point. They can seal it up and it still cools nicely but acts much closer to a vacuum to the moving parts inside.
    Their justification for using helium is interesting. I wonder how much real life difference it makes versus marketing. I have only filled 2tb of my 3tb home server, one of these and I would be set for a good long while
    There is an actual difference. And as for the size, that is only YOUR situation. I have a 36TB total array size (one 12, one 24, both Raid 6) for my house. And I'm still running out of room. It depends if you're actually storing information or hacking files from the internet. Are you using real data or making your private movie theft storage? etc. (Everything I do is legal BTW, I'm anti-piracy). It's all about your specific needs. I have 2TB drives laying around for my quick-swap external drives that get filled and dumped regularly. (right now I see 4 on my desk, a few 1.5TB drives, etc.)If I could make it out of 6TB disks, I would have, but not at $800/each when my 4TB disks were $200-300 each. Too much premium even for me. I guess there are some other businesses that still go for it though but prices will drop rapidly once other manufacturers start spitting out the drives.
    Reply
  • gm0n3y
    If they want less drag couldn't they just remove all gases from the enclosure (i.e. a vacuum)? Is that too difficult/expensive/failure prone? Or do they need a gas in there to aid in heat transfer?
    Reply
  • minerva330
    12599177 said:
    If the HDD is sealed, won't that cause damage under higher/lower pressures due to pressure differences? Normal HDDs have a hole to equalize pressure, and I assume that if no damage would be caused then this hole wouldn't be necessary: yet it's there.
    Helium is 1/7th the density of air. That's the whole point. They can seal it up and it still cools nicely but acts much closer to a vacuum to the moving parts inside.
    Their justification for using helium is interesting. I wonder how much real life difference it makes versus marketing. I have only filled 2tb of my 3tb home server, one of these and I would be set for a good long while
    There is an actual difference. And as for the size, that is only YOUR situation. I have a 36TB total array size (one 12, one 24, both Raid 6) for my house. And I'm still running out of room. It depends if you're actually storing information or hacking files from the internet. Are you using real data or making your private movie theft storage? etc. (Everything I do is legal BTW, I'm anti-piracy). It's all about your specific needs. I have 2TB drives laying around for my quick-swap external drives that get filled and dumped regularly. (right now I see 4 on my desk, a few 1.5TB drives, etc.)If I could make it out of 6TB disks, I would have, but not at $800/each when my 4TB disks were $200-300 each. Too much premium even for me. I guess there are some other businesses that still go for it though but prices will drop rapidly once other manufacturers start spitting out the drives.

    I hear ya, it really goes without saying it is need based. I just can't stand clutter. My server is a family one, all legal too. Pics, HD GoPro, videos, digital books, back-ups, etc. One large drive like this or two or three smaller drives would meet my needs.
    Reply
  • JOSHSKORN
    Yay, 6TB HDD, Just in time to not need a 6 TB HDD thanks to cloud storage.
    Reply