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Data Storage Hardware

6TB Helium-Filled Hard Drives Take Flight 297

An anonymous reader writes in with some exciting news if you are a storage array manufacturer with a lot of money to spend on hard drives."HGST Monday announced that it's now shipping a helium-filled, 3.5-in hard disk drive with 50% more capacity than the current industry leading 4TB drives. The new drive uses 23% less power and is 38% lighter than the 4TB drives. Without changing the height, the new 6TB Ultrastar He6 enterprise-class hard drive crams seven disk platters into what was a five disk-platter, 4TB Ultrastar drive."
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6TB Helium-Filled Hard Drives Take Flight

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  • Helium Leaks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bfmorgan ( 839462 ) on Monday November 04, 2013 @12:30PM (#45326475)
    Helium love to leak. How long will these have the He pressure they need to work?
  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Monday November 04, 2013 @12:44PM (#45326671) Homepage Journal

    Actually it's deceptively hard. Helium has a way of diffusing right through an air tight seal.

  • Re:Helium Leaks (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 04, 2013 @12:59PM (#45326917)

    Geedy Lee hates you and your slight. You should consider yourself lucky to ever hear such wonderful music in the first place, loser.

  • Re:Great... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Monday November 04, 2013 @01:02PM (#45326953)

    It's also even harder to contain than helium - and that's quite an achievement. Hydrogen is quite happy to leak through solid metal, given a bit of time. The atoms are so small, they fit *between* the atoms of a metal, and in the spaces between crystal grains.

  • Re:Helium Leaks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Monday November 04, 2013 @01:22PM (#45327193)

    So, when a drive fails and I lose time/data

    I'm not hiring you to set up my systems.

    Most sane people would take a spare off the shelf and pop it into the array and drop the bad drive into the dead soldiers pile for later RMA.

  • Re:Helium Leaks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Monday November 04, 2013 @01:32PM (#45327337)

    I thought conventional wisdom was to at least mix batches, if not brands.

  • Re:Great... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ericloewe ( 2129490 ) on Monday November 04, 2013 @01:53PM (#45327631)

    We're talking about small quantities. Think of how many drives you could fill with one balloon's worth of Helium.

    But yes, I get seriously pissed off when I see precious helium that could've been used as a coolant for superconductive magnets (and HDD filler, it seems) being used to fill balloons. If you must absolutely have a stupid floating balloon or massive balloon parade, use hydrogen. When something happens, people will be so scared (even though a large hydrogen fire in an open space or a small one indoors aren't particularly dangerous by fire standards) they'll never want a balloon again unless it's filled with air.

    Sure, it might ruin little Jimmy's birthday party, but a spectacular hydrogen fire is mostly spectacular and is not a waste of Helium.

    If you ever participate in the usage of Helium you will probably be partly responsible for the day when:

    a) An MRI cannot operate because its superconductive electromagnet is not superconductive because it's not cool enough - liquid Helium cools it. (Yes, there are permanent magnet MRIs, but from what I've heard, most powerful MRIs use superconductive electromagnets).

    b) A particle accelerator cannot operate because its superconductive electromagnets aren't being cooled by liquid helium.

    Compared to those, lower capacity HDDs are a nuisance and not having floating balloons is a miniscule price to pay.

  • Re:Helium Leaks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Monday November 04, 2013 @03:24PM (#45328721) Homepage Journal

    If their drive costs more than a RAID6+0 or something else on a high-end SAN, you'll just buy cheaper drives. If their drive is less reliable and bigger, then you're in danger of more drive failures and a total failure while replacing them (rebuilding a 3TB enterprise-class Seagate drive takes up of 72 hours) and so there's too much risk unless you buy a lot more of them and make crazy shit like RAID6+0. They can't just price them obscenely expensive to make up for constantly giving out free ones.

    That all means they have to reliably provide for a minimum of failures over 5 years to make sure their warranty doesn't bankrupt them. This is why warranties actually work: the "invisible hand of the market" is a thief and a charlatan, but it works pretty well when bound in a rather nasty glove that inflicts great pain when it misbehaves.

  • Re:Helium Leaks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Monday November 04, 2013 @03:39PM (#45328899)

    Uh no. If the warranty is 5 years, I expect it to last at least that long, if not longer. If the drive fails within 5 years, I expect a new drive since I purchased a guarantee of uninterrupted operation for 5 years. If I didn't get it with the first drive, or the second, or the third, then I expect them to keep sending me drives until they get it right or refund my money. If they go out of business doing this with too many customers too much of the time, then they should have as their products suck.

    That is how you honor warranties the right way. Of course, companies cheap out on them now, and it's getting real bad with things like computer components, notably, motherboards, video boards, and hard disks. A new product was paid for, and it was faulty, and they send a refurb? I did not buy a refurb! Many times the refurb shows up half broken (motherboard manufacturers are famous for using 3rd party 'fufillment centers' that do this) or as DOA as the one sent in. It's such a damn hassle get them to act honorably. Of course, this drives me to say 'fuck it' and buy the ultra cheap ones with the expectation of early failure, but then I'm supporting the anti-quality trend in the consumer market. Really, the constant cross shipping and down time costs both manufacturer and consumer more money than getting it right in the first place would.

    Barring a RARE fluke, there's no reason every hard disk shouldn't last at least 5 years now, but again they cheap out on the manufacturing process to save a few pennies. There was a time when getting 10 years out of a quality disk was reasonable.

What is algebra, exactly? Is it one of those three-cornered things? -- J.M. Barrie