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Seagate Releases 6TB Hard Drive Sans Helium 147

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the platters-like-to-breathe dept.
Lucas123 (935744) writes "Seagate has released what it said is the industry's fastest hard drive with up to a 6TB capacity, matching one released by WD last year. WD's 6TB Ultrastar He6 was hermetically sealed with helium inside, something the company said was critical to reducing friction for additional platters, while also increasing power savings and reliability. Seagate, however, said it doesn't yet need to rely on Helium to achieve the 50% increase in capacity over its last 4TB drive. The company used the same perpendicular magnetic recording technology that it has on previous models, but it was able to increase areal density from 831 bits per square inch to 1,000. The new drive also comes in 2TB, 4TB and 5TB capacities and with either 12Gbps SAS or 6Gbps SATA connectivity. The six-platter, enterprise-class drive is rated to sustain about 550TB of writes per year — 10X that of a typical desktop drive."
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Seagate Releases 6TB Hard Drive Sans Helium

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  • by PaulBu (473180) on Monday April 07, 2014 @07:36PM (#46689379) Homepage

    I thought that in 21st century we are talking about Gbits/inch^2, not just bits...

    Paul B.

  • write the partition table.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    6 TB drive... 1000 bits/square inch... So... 6 billion square inches of real estate (14.67 mile sides of a square)?

  • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Monday April 07, 2014 @07:43PM (#46689441) Homepage

    And why would you not use helium? They already seal the hard drives and it is just as easy and cheap to leave helium in the drive as some form of super clean air.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      No. drives are *not* sealed. Making a sealed drive that won't implode if you, say, take it on an aircraft in your laptop, or to ship it to the client (for example) is non trivial.

      • by TeknoHog (164938)

        No. drives are *not* sealed. Making a sealed drive that won't implode if you, say, take it on an aircraft in your laptop, or to ship it to the client (for example) is non trivial.

        By "ship", do you mean a submarine? Because otherwise my head in plode (considering a roughly sea-level internal pressure vs. the mile-high club)

    • Re:Why not? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07, 2014 @07:51PM (#46689513)

      actually, the drives aren't usually sealed. there's a porous frit plug that allows the pressure inside and outside to be equalized, and which has pores small enough not to let water vapor in.

      Designing a hermetic container that lasts for years is non-trivial, particularly one to hold Helium, which has very, very small atoms that can go through the interstices in the metal. By comparison, pulling a vacuum would be easier, but disk drives need something to fly the heads on. He is nice because it is also very low viscosity

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by war4peace (1628283)

        He is nice because it is also very low viscosity

        But she is nicer than him, that's for sure, mainly because her viscosity is spot on.

      • Re:Why not? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by niftymitch (1625721) on Monday April 07, 2014 @08:27PM (#46689759)

        .......

        Designing a hermetic container that lasts for years is non-trivial, particularly one to hold Helium, which has very, very small atoms that can go through the interstices in the metal. .....

        This is important.....
        I have seen thick wall steel pipe with blisters inside the metal.
        The pipe contained high pressure hydrogen at high temperatures and
        the hydrogen would react with the carbon in the steel and grow bubbles
        a little like Swiss cheese.

        The diffusion dimension of H2 and He is also interesting.

      • by dargaud (518470)

        Designing a hermetic container that lasts for years is non-trivial

        Huh ? My cheap plastic watch is hermetic to 4 atm, and for years. Plenty of things are. And for a HD you don't have to stand more than 1/3 atm of pressure differential, something trivial. Having used hard drives at high altitude and seen them die quickly, I always wondered why they don't simply seal the damn things with air at 1 atm inside.

      • So, when you pull a vacuum, does it eventually fill up with helium that goes through the interstices in the metal from the ambient atmospheric mix of gasses?

        • by Linzer (753270)

          Yes, at an incrediby slow pace, and only until you reach the same partial pressure of helium inside and outside the container. Which will give you a ridiculously small amount of helium after a huge wait. That's why no one does that.

      • by LoRdTAW (99712)

        Helium is so good at leaking it is used to test for leaks using a mass spectrometer leak tester.

    • Because they're trying to maintain their quality. [backblaze.com]

      (Seriously, though, they actually don't seal their hard drives. Hard drives typically have a small hole in the casing with a extremely fine dust- and moisture-proof filter attached. It allows the drive to equalize its pressure with the environment and reduces the mechanical strain on the housing and seals.)

    • And why would you not use helium? They already seal the hard drives and it is just as easy and cheap to leave helium in the drive as some form of super clean air.

      Ask the question differently..... why you would use helium.
      A partial answer is thermal... revisit the old TCM (thermal conductive modules)
      used in system components like IBM 3081. H has good thermal properties.
      Another is the H or He have vastly better dynamic fluid properties to let the head seek
      and perhaps fly better.
      Pressure and seal is an issue but an expansion bladder can establish a way for
      pressure changes to have minimum impact on the case.
      Helium is inert allowing a wider choice of internal materials.

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      it is just as easy and cheap to leave helium in the drive as some form of super clean air.

      Have you ever wondered how Helium and Hydrogen filled balloons, even metal ones will deflate and fall despite no obvious signs of a leak? It is very difficult to properly seal either element into a permanent storage container. There's nothing cheap or easy about designing a case like that.

    • by gmarsh (839707)

      Why not?

      - Requires extra machinery/infrastructure to be installed at the HD plant
      - Expense of buying helium
      - Expense of other drive changes required to support helium (better sealing, etc)
      - Expense of licensing existing patents on helium filled drives and their manufacture.

      Or perhaps they're just busy validating new drive models and their assembly line, and they'll be shipping helium filled drives shortly...

  • by Tablizer (95088) on Monday April 07, 2014 @07:44PM (#46689451) Homepage Journal

    Finally a way to detect if your drive is about to crash: you start to sound like a munchkin.

    <highvoice>Oh oh, I better make a backup fast!</highvoice>

    • by Jamlad (3436419)
      I'm wondering how they've manage to prevent He from leaking. It's an absolute bugger to contain. Just permiates through most plastics and any infinitesimally small cracks. We use it in particle accelerators at ultra-high vacuum (10^-9mbar) to detect leaks for that very reason.
  • Calculations (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wisnoskij (1206448) on Monday April 07, 2014 @07:51PM (#46689505) Homepage

    At 1000 bits per square inch, to get 6TB you need about a third the size of Manhattan.

    According to Wolfram Alpha at least:
    http://www.wolframalpha.com/in... [wolframalpha.com]

    • by steelfood (895457)

      The He-filled WD version is just a bit larger, and has a giant laser in the center that can blow up a city.

    • by Trailer Trash (60756) on Monday April 07, 2014 @09:29PM (#46690071) Homepage

      At 1000 bits per square inch, to get 6TB you need about a third the size of Manhattan.

      It takes a couple of hours to get up to 5800RPM, but when that bitch is spinning don't even try to tilt your computer.

      • Just think, last year's drives at 831 bits per square inch, that's only 29 bits per inch, squared... you can see those suckers with the naked eye.

      • by Hobadee (787558)

        If I'm doing my math right here, that comes out to ~1,900km/s at the outter edges of the platter. That's about 0.6% of the speed of light.

        Wolfram Math [wolframalpha.com] ...Divide by pi and sqrt to get radius, multiply by 2pi to get circumference, multiply by RPM, divide by 60 to get it in seconds... Correct?

        • If I'm doing my math right here, that comes out to ~1,900km/s at the outter edges of the platter. That's about 0.6% of the speed of light.

          Wolfram Math [wolframalpha.com] ...Divide by pi and sqrt to get radius, multiply by 2pi to get circumference, multiply by RPM, divide by 60 to get it in seconds... Correct?

          So if it's a third the size of Manhattan at rest, how big is the outer edge at full speed?

  • "relying" on helium (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07, 2014 @07:51PM (#46689511)

    Seagate, however, said it doesn't yet need to rely on Helium to achieve the 50% increase in capacity over it's last 4TB drive

    Seagate previously made 4 x 1 TB platters and 5 x 800 GB platters. Now this drive stores 1.25 TB per platter (according to El Reg [theregister.co.uk]). I bet WD/HGST can replicate that very easily... 7 x 1.25 = 8.75 TB. From what we know Seagate could use shingles (shingled magnetic recording) to boost capacity but with a penalty to write speed. There was also a suggestion they could cram 6 platters in a drive without helium. Both companies are working on HAMR to replace PMR in the coming years.

    It's not that WD is relying on helium, it's that WD has better technology than Seagate. By including two more platters, WD can match Seagate's capacity with older PMR platters.

  • In a big storage server, that could amount to few kilos, perhaps

  • by m.dillon (147925) on Monday April 07, 2014 @10:23PM (#46690305) Homepage

    The press blurb is full of nonsense. Not one real performance statistic. Not one.

    -Matt

    • by gweihir (88907)

      You ask for facts? These have been eliminated from marketing a long time ago, as they tend to get in the way. There are enough suckers that will buy this thing anyways, despite Seagates consistently bad reliability track record.

  • That's a lot of porn...

  • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Monday April 07, 2014 @11:47PM (#46690795)

    The company used the same perpendicular magnetic recording technology that it has on previous models.

    Just in case anyone missed it, here's the very technical video explanation by Hitachi about how perpendicular recording works [youtube.com].

  • Sometimes, just sometimes, they are on par with the competition reliability-wise. But many of their drives are lemons, far more than from other manufacturers and that has been a very long-term trend. Seagate just does not know or does not care to make drives reliable. Latest data:
    http://blog.backblaze.com/2014... [backblaze.com]

    This one is unlike to be any better in that regard.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Sometimes, just sometimes, they are on par with the competition reliability-wise. But many of their drives are lemons, far more than from other manufacturers and that has been a very long-term trend. Seagate just does not know or does not care to make drives reliable. Latest data:
      http://blog.backblaze.com/2014... [backblaze.com]

      This one is unlike to be any better in that regard.

      I swear, it seems if you can generate the right kind of FUD that seems to resonate with "storage nerds" biases, it will be keep being thrown around like that damn Wakefield vaccine paper. If I were building network storage (and yeah, I suppose I'm not Backblaze trying to do it on the super cheap), there's no way I would do something as stupid as go buy a bunch of external drives and rip the drives out and put them in server application. Try doing that with HGST, WD, Seagate or Toshiba branded products, and

      • by gweihir (88907)

        Nice attempt at diversion. What you say is complete BS though, and rather obviously so.

        First, you always get bitten when doing storage. There is no way around that.

        Second, "enterprise grade" disk hardware is a myth today. Backblaze recognized that and quite a few other people do it too. Sure, you can get things like lower vibration, but they do not matter to drive lifetime these days, only access time and that you can measure. Your argumentation relies on 20 year old tech and that is not being used in moder

  • by zdzichu (100333) <zdzichu@i r c .pl> on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @01:42AM (#46691299) Homepage Journal

    Since when mechanical drives degrade during writes? Isn't that a SSD 's illness?
    And 55TB / year for desktop drive sounds ridiculously low.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Writes do slightly degrade HDDs. The extra heat shortens their lifespan, but the main issue is that they need idle time to check and re-write existing data.

      When idle HDDs will do a background surface scan where they check the integrity of each block. All blocks will have some amount of errors that can be recovered using error correction codes. Once a block reaches a certain threshold of errors it is considered bad and the data is moved somewhere else. The drive has a supply of reserve blocks for this purpos

  • by cpm99352 (939350) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @02:02AM (#46691377)
    There was a time when Seagate was a gold standard, but nowadays certainly not. I would not trust a Seagate drive if someone gave it to me. A truly sad state of affairs. I just pity the consumers who don't know any better. Even worse that they're now tarnishing the Hitachi brand.
  • ...work at a very high pitch!
  • The new 7,200rpm, enterprise drive also has what Craig described as a "humidity sensor" that will allow it to continue functioning in humid environments.

    Finally a drive that will work in the cloud!

  • > over it's last 4TB drive.

    over its* last 4TB drive.

            it's = it is

    Learn this.

  • Now where are my 2Tb+ 2.5" hard drives?

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