Ultrastar He8 Helium Filled HDD

End of an Air-a. Helium Rising.

If you followed our announcements last week, then you know that HGST is producing its last capacity enterprise air drive (the 6TB Ultrastar® 7K6000) and that we’re all in with helium. In fact, helium has enabled us to ship our highest capacity hard drive, our 8TB Ultrastar He8, as well as sample the world’s first 10TB drives. Helium allows us to reach new industry-leading capacity points while delivering the quality and reliability that our customers have come to expect.

Long Live DataTM.  

In our ever connected world, data creation is exploding. IDC forecasts that data creation will leap 40% by 2020 to a massive 44ZB. Yes, that is zettabytes, not zombie bites. To extract the most value out of data, you must first store it – a lot more of it.

Helium: More efficient. Less power. Less space.

We recognize the growing pressures inside the data center. Data volume is expanding with rising storage and operating costs, while budgets remain flat. Lowering the total cost of ownership (TCO) has become the focus of data center architects.

HGST’s revolutionary HelioSeal platform significantly improves data center TCO on virtually every level – capacity, power, cooling and storage density – all in the same 3.5-inch form factor.

Power Consumption of Helium vs. Air (Watts/TB)
Power Consumption of Helium vs. Air (Watts/TB)


How? If you hold your arm outside of a moving car at 80 miles per hour, you’ll experience what drives go through using air. Keeping your arm steady, without fluttering, is virtually impossible. At one seventh the density of air, helium helps keeps your arm still with virtually no flutter.

For a disk drive, this means less drag and turbulence inside the drive, so it runs cooler and quieter with industry-leading low power. Helium allows us to put two additional platters in the drive, which would be impossible to do in air without compromising reliability. Adding just one additional platter in an air drive increases the power and heat generated… both of which affect TCO. The cooler a drive runs, the more reliable it will be.

Setting New Standards in Capacity and TCO

* 6TB Air HDDs would consume 13.6KW (42% more then 6TB Helium). 2U x 12 Configuration. Idle Power HDD only.
* 6TB Air HDDs would consume 13.6KW (42% more then 6TB Helium). 2U x 12 Configuration. Idle Power HDD only.


As we roll out the 10TB drive more broadly, it will deliver unprecedented capacity at the lowest $/TB and lowest watts/TB by harnessing two complementary technologies: HelioSeal technology and host-managed Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR). This drive enables new storage applications such as Active Archive for data that is rarely used, but needs to be readily accessible long term.

Ten terabytes. Think about that for a minute. That’s huge. Especially when you consider the greater efficiency and lower TCO that it offers.

10TB Helium HDD.
10TB Helium HDD.


Since we announced our HelioSeal platform two years ago, it has been successfully deployed in the world’s largest hyperscale data centers and integrated into traditional storage subsystems. We’ve proven out the HelioSeal platform and the value proposition, and we have nowhere to go but up! The future is an exciting place for data storage and helium is going to take us there.

(Ultrastar is a registered trademark, and Long Live Data and HelioSeal are trademarks, of HGST, Inc. and its affiliates in the United States and/or other countries. This blog may contain forward looking statements. Please see our note regarding forward looking statements here.)