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Thread: Helium-filled drives announced

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    Default Helium-filled drives announced

    September 13, 2012 -- 14:53 GMT (07:53 PDT)






    HGST - formerly Hitachi's disk unit - announced a major advance in disk capacity and efficiency with their development of helium-filled disk drives. The drives enable greater density in both platters and bits, run cooler and are more energy efficient.

    It's a major win for disk technology.
    The numbers
    HGST says that the new, helium-filled sealed-drive platform reduces power consumption by 23% compared to an equivalent air-filled drive side-by-side. It also enables them to add 2 additional platters - for a total of 7 - to their 3.5" disks, which should mean ≈6TB drives.
    The drives also run 4C (7F) cooler. They calculate that the total improvement in watts-per-TB is 45 percent, which they expect to improve as the helium-filled drive platform enables higher drive capacities in future products.
    The science
    Drive engineers have long known that the air inside drives creates turbulence and drag that degrades performance and efficiency. The problem has been what to do about it.
    Drives today are not hermetically sealed: they have a filtered air channel to allow pressure equalization between the outside and inside of a drive. HGST engineers have evidently figured out 3 things:

    1. How build a drive structure stiff enough not to flex with pressure changes.
    2. How to seal in helium, a gas known for its remarkable diffusion properties.
    3. How to manufacture such drives in high volume at - one hopes - a competitive price.

    The only things better than helium in a drive are hydrogen - which is flammable - or a vacuum - which would need a stiffer, heavier and more expensive frame.
    They said it took 6 years of development. I believe it.
    The Storage Bits take
    While we're waiting for the drive engineers to perfect heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) and patterned media - key technologies for the next major jump in recording density - helium-filled drives will enable higher density and larger capacity drives for years to come.
    The major buyers will likely be large cloud storage providers, where a 45% increase in energy efficiency per TB will pay major dividends in power and cooling costs. But expect the technology to spread to all drives over time as it is perfected.
    There will be a price to pay: helium is more expensive than air; and a stiffer, diffusion-proof disk structure will also have costs. But with volume both costs should drop over time.
    It's great to see this kind of basic R&D come to fruition. Congratulations to the HGST engineering teams.

    Helium-filled drives announced | ZDNet
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  2. The following users thank 6 For this above post:

    Bob2701 (13-09-2012), JamesLT3 (13-09-2012), realneil (13-09-2012), Solara2xb (13-09-2012), vinman (14-09-2012), xelosia (13-09-2012)

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    Default Re: Helium-filled drives announced

    This is interesting... Good info

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    Default Re: Helium-filled drives announced

    Good read but why not make the inside a near vacuum?

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    Default Re: Helium-filled drives announced

    Thanks for the read.

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    Default Re: Helium-filled drives announced

    Some of the Black Boxes that we used to make for the Shuttles were kept under vacuum inside.
    They worked better that way.

  7. The following user thanks realneil For this above post:

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    Default Re: Helium-filled drives announced

    Quote Originally Posted by PoLoMoTo View Post
    Good read but why not make the inside a near vacuum?
    Im guessing they are using air to "float" the platters or act as a lubricate to separate the spinning platters. Based in what i read It seems the turbulence created by moving air makes it so the MFG has to keep a certain distance between platters to account for that movement. With that turbulence removed they are able to move the platters closer together thereby increasing density. If there is a complete vacuum maybe the drives will create too much heat or not spin correctly.
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    Default Re: Helium-filled drives announced

    thanks for the interesting read

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    Default Re: Helium-filled drives announced

    Thanks Cyber,was interesting. There going to be expensive though
    Quote Originally Posted by realneil View Post
    Some of the Black Boxes that we used to make for the Shuttles were kept under vacuum inside.
    They worked better that way.
    '
    Sorry for the dumb question but why do they work better under vacuum?

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    Default Re: Helium-filled drives announced

    The only problem is you have to tie it down so it doesn't float away lol They have experienced a few leaks, where people started sounding like daffy duck, but hey, everything's good lmao

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    Default Re: Helium-filled drives announced

    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor_Death View Post
    The only problem is you have to tie it down so it doesn't float away lol They have experienced a few leaks, where people started sounding like daffy duck, but hey, everything's good lmao
    That is still a way better outcome then the Hydrogen idea. I need more data storage so lets put a small bomb in my case. Brilliant!
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    Default Re: Helium-filled drives announced

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesLT3 View Post
    Thanks Cyber,was interesting. There going to be expensive though
    '
    Sorry for the dumb question but why do they work better under vacuum?
    If he is talking space shuttles or even high altitude flights the difference in air pressure would cause the drive to exert outward pressure in the vacuum of space or high altitudes. Once the pressure is high enough to cause a crack the vacuum would suck the air out of the drive causing it to implode. Space is awesome
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    Default Re: Helium-filled drives announced

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesLT3 View Post
    Sorry for the dumb question but why do they work better under vacuum?
    No such thing as a dumb question.

    But I don't know the answer,.....I just know that they had to be in a Vacuum Chamber/Clean Room when they were sealed up.

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    Default Re: Helium-filled drives announced

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyberburnout View Post
    If he is talking space shuttles or even high altitude flights the difference in air pressure would cause the drive to exert outward pressure in the vacuum of space or high altitudes. Once the pressure is high enough to cause a crack the vacuum would suck the air out of the drive causing it to implode. Space is awesome
    All of the Black boxes and hardware was hardened for the extreme vacuum and temps experienced in space. And yes, Space IS awesome.

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    Default Re: Helium-filled drives announced

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyberburnout View Post
    If he is talking space shuttles or even high altitude flights the difference in air pressure would cause the drive to exert outward pressure in the vacuum of space or high altitudes. Once the pressure is high enough to cause a crack the vacuum would suck the air out of the drive causing it to implode. Space is awesome
    Quote Originally Posted by realneil View Post
    No such thing as a dumb question.

    But I don't know the answer,.....I just know that they had to be in a Vacuum Chamber/Clean Room when they were sealed up.

    Quote Originally Posted by realneil View Post
    All of the Black boxes and hardware was hardened for the extreme vacuum and temps experienced in space. And yes, Space IS awesome.
    Thanks for the info guy!We can all agree space is awesome.

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    Default Re: Helium-filled drives announced

    Especially the space between Neil's ears, it's freaking huge, and infested with tiny aliens lol

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    Default Re: Helium-filled drives announced

    If it turns out to be a good evolution I'm all for it. Rock solid reliability would be nice.

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