Fill up your hard drive... with helium?

  • 21 September 2012
  • 1 reply

Userlevel 7
  • Retired Webrooter
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Helium-filled WD drives promise huge boost in capacity
Western Digital is preparing to launch a line of hard drives filled with helium gas that is said to drastically reduce internal friction and thus lower power consumption by 23% while increasing capacity by 40%.
The 3.5-in data center drives, developed by WD subsidiary Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST), are expected to be available next year.
This strikes me as a novel approach to eliminating friction from the spin of the drive.  It makes perfect sense being that Helium is lighter and doesn't react with other elements under most circumstances by nature of being a noble gas.
I still prefer SSD's for speed, but for size, this should prove to be a pretty cool advancement for HDD's.  Of course, it's also one more thing to worry about if it springs a leak.  I have to wonder how many data recovery centers keep tanks of helium sitting around.  Assuming they are reliable though, they will hold more, run quieter, and use less energy.  Pretty cool!

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The high-pitched whirring would become annoying, I suspect.