X-bit Labs received word from WD that the company's HGST division will ship world's first helium-filled HDDs before the end of the year. Initial volume of this new product class will be small though. As we wrote earlier this year, helium-sealed HDDs offer many benefits including higher capacity thanks to being able to place platters closer together, while also delivering lower power consumption and less heat output.
“We are on track to launch our new seven-disk helium-based sealed-drive this quarter to a select group of customers who value the total cost of ownership savings delivered by this innovative product,” said Stephen Milligan, chief executive officer of Western Digital.
At present, Western Digital itself and its subsidiary HGST utilize proven 800GB platters inside their five-disc capacity-optimized hard drives. In case the same platters are used for helium-filled HDDs, then WD will be able to offer 5TB – 5.5TB capacities to customers needing maximum storage space per drive. In case the company decides to use new-generation enterprise-grade platters with higher aerial density, then 6TB capacity point is possible.