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First helium-filled 6TB hard drive launched, just not for you

Jamie Rigg, @jmerigg
November 4, 2013
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At first glance, an enterprise-class hard drive with unparalleled areal density sounds like a pretty dull affair, right? While the new Ultrastar He6 drive from Western Digital's HGST subsidiary does fit that nap-inducing description, it's also got a couple of exclusive honors to boast about. You see, not only is this the first sealed, helium-filled HDD, but also the largest in a standard 3.5-inch footprint, packing 6TB over seven stacks. We learned during the drive's development that helium's lower density compared with air allows for this storage bump, as well as making it lighter and more energy efficient. It's destined for data centers and the like, with outfits like HP, Netflix, Huawei and CERN already registering their interest. You'd think these HDDs are pretty pricey currently, but let's hope HGST can dial its costs down and do the noble thing of bringing it to consumer rigs in the future.

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