The largest hard drive we can expect in the future


Helium (Photo credit: Beige Alert)

, a department of Western Digital, revealed what experts expect will be a 5.6 TB 3.5 type factor tough drive sometime in 2013. The new largest hard disk drive will consist of helium as opposed to air and will have 7 platters. Helium is 1/7 the density of air, which much less drag on the spinning disks. It also decreases the “fluid flow” forces which buffet the heads and arms. The tale is intriguing enough that it’s being gotten by magazines such as SMBnation.

Disk plate wobble or vibration is a considerable consider restricting difficult drive storage density. The spinning movement causes air turbulence, which in turn disrupts both the plate and the read/write head’s capability to stay on track. With helium the turbulence is reduced, enabling the drive to pack more bits onto the plate while still enabling accurate head positioning.

HGST also plans to pack 7 platters into the enclosure as opposed to just the 5 utilized for present 4TB drives. The helium inside will result in less power usage and cooler drive operation. The company states power usage is reduced by 23 % by using helium and that the drive runs 4 degrees Celsius cooler. Utilizing helium along with heat-assisted magnetic recording could bring about 60TB drives by 2016.

Helium is ending up being a scarce commodity, as just 6 companies on the planet refine and provide it. It is extracted in little percentages from specific gas deposits. Once Helium is released (as when a balloon pops) it escapes into the environment and is gone from earth for life. Today there are just about 15 recognized sources of helium worldwide and 10 of these are in the United States, mostly regulated by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Planned and unintended outages throughout the world in addition to changes in a UNITED STATE law called the Helium Privatization Act of 1996 (HPA) have impacted these limited supplies. 20 % of the entire world’s output of helium is made use of for MRI devices and about 17 % is used in welding. An additional portion is used to make LCD screens. Helium rate and accessibility can become an issue in making although it is unidentified whether the little volumes utilized in hard disks will significantly influence the supply chain.

HGST prepares to focus initially on the venture and data center market. This, in addition to the Helium conversation above, recommends the drive will come at a cost premium above the desktop drives delivered today.

As for dependability of this new technology, we’ll need to put our trust in the engineers and afterwards see exactly how they perform in the area. Extremely sophisticated and tightly managed seals will be needed given that the molecules are very little and will leak from the smallest openings easily. We wonder if drives will ever have to be “filled up” to maintain and freshen the helium as is the case with some a/c systems. We’ll likewise need to wait to see whether the drives are durable enough to be utilized in detachable drive backup systems like the RAIDFrame.

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