Skip to main content

WD Embraces Helium To Float 8TB Capacity, New Products Available

Western Digital added helium-filled hard disk drives to the Red, Red Pro and Purple product lines. The disks drive new consumer storage devices with increased capacity, cooler operation and higher density.

HGST, now a subsidiary of Western Digital, first released HelioSeal Technology in 2014. Not long after, the company claimed 1 million products shipped and field reliability increased a full 15 percent. Helium allows hard disk manufacturers to use more platters (up to 7 in a drive) to increase density. The gas is thinner than regular air so the platters face less resistance in motion. This reduces vibration and friction heat inside the drive, and it uses less power at the motor.

Western Digital will release helium-filled products using technology from HGST. These drives will  make it into WD-branded consumer models like the My Book and several NAS systems.

New Product Announced Today

External Hard Drives

My Book/My Book for Mac -– An external hard drive solution that provides backup and storage with USB connectivity.

My Book Duo/My Book Pro – Dual-drive external hard drive solutions that provide ultra-fast storage in RAID-0 and backup and storage with USB and/or Thunderbolt connectivity and up to 16 TB capacity.

My Cloud/My Cloud Mirror – A personal storage device that plugs into your router at home to provide you with your very own private cloud.

My Cloud EX2 Ultra – As part of the creative professional series of My Cloud products, the My Cloud EX2 Ultra provides high-performance two-bay network attached storage.

Internal Hard Drives

WD Purple – Engineered for 24/7, always-on, high-definition surveillance security systems that use up to eight hard drives and up to 32 cameras.

WD Red – Optimized for personal, home and small business NAS (network attached storage) systems.

WD Red Pro – Optimized for small business and enterprise class NAS systems with high performance and reliability.

We expect helium-based hard disk drives to spread into other markets. Recently, Google pitched hard disk manufacturers to increase the z-height of disk drives to create products with more platters. This would increase storage capacity per disk and reduce costs. The fixed priced components like the case and motor would stay relatively unchanged but allow more platters that increase device storage density.

Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware, covering Storage. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Follow Tom's Hardware on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

  • hst101rox
    While still stuck at 1TB or less for their 9.5mm thick laptop drives.. Samsung's M9T is at 2TB at that thickness and Seagate has had a 1TB/platter laptop drive now (2TB at 7mm with SMR). The Scorpio Black 750GB product is about 5 years old.
    Reply
  • I'm curious as to when WD will update the Black line - I believe it's been about 3 years? The upgrade to FZEX from FAEX was surprisingly nice performance wise. Even if performance improvements are basically finished for HDDs, reliability improvements etc are always welcome. Maybe helium can be added to lower capacity drives simply due to the decreased resistance which I'm guessing would be positive for durability?
    Reply
  • Jamroast
    Goat lovin'
    Reply
  • oyoy
    I'm curious as to when WD will update the Black line - I believe it's been about 3 years? The upgrade to FZEX from FAEX was surprisingly nice performance wise...
    6GB, 5GB Black: WD6001FZWX, WD5001FZWX. http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=760#Tab3
    And yes only the black are actually working as HDD should ..8-12 years (All other died after 3-4 years). But the main problem remain the same, PRICE.
    Reply
  • 17593604 said:
    I'm curious as to when WD will update the Black line - I believe it's been about 3 years? The upgrade to FZEX from FAEX was surprisingly nice performance wise...
    6GB, 5GB Black: WD6001FZWX, WD5001FZWX. http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=760#Tab3
    And yes only the black are actually working as HDD should ..8-12 years (All other died after 3-4 years). But the main problem remain the same, PRICE.

    I know of the larger capacity models, and they do offer an increase in performance - but I'm referring to the 1-4 TB models. As a consumer, I have no need for anything larger than 2 TB in my main PC even though I game and have a collection of movies/shows, so I'd like improvements brought to the existing capacities instead of endlessly adding higher capacity single drives which the average consumer has no need for. I hear you, though, WD Black are really expensive drives.
    Reply
  • hst101rox
    You can buy the Black drives as 'whitelabel' sometimes on goharddrive. Not much of a warranty but that's ok. Argh, it does look like WD hasn't updated the lower capacity WD Black drives with the new 1.2TB/platter tech and other updates, because if you look at the datasheet, 8.1 watts at idle for 2TB is still more than the idle wattage for the 6TB, and the weight is almost as much as the 6TB as well (1.32 pounds vs 1.58 pounds) so old 500GB/platter gen. Hopefully they'll update it so people can get the lower capacity but still get the performance. But, you know, corporate profits, greed and SSDs..
    http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/library/SpecSheet/ENG/2879-771434.pdf
    Reply
  • firefoxx04
    Probably just HGST tech (that they have owned for a while now). They couldnt use it for a while due to merger issues but i think that is all over with now. Good for us as long as prices dont go up. HGST makes top notch drives.
    Reply
  • heliomphalodon
    If He is good, and they've solved the difficult problem of keeping it contained, wouldn't vacuum be even better?
    Reply
  • Justin Crapola
    If He is good, and they've solved the difficult problem of keeping it contained, wouldn't vacuum be even better?

    This is always asked whenever a new helium drive is released. I was told that a vacuum would cause hot spots, you need to gas to carry heat energy.
    Reply
  • Justin Crapola
    If He is good, and they've solved the difficult problem of keeping it contained, wouldn't vacuum be even better?

    This is always asked whenever a new helium drive is released. I was told that a vacuum would cause hot spots, you need to gas to carry heat energy.
    Reply