HGST's Helium Filled 6TB Ultrastar He6 Hard Drive Floats Over to Data Centers

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keyboardJuice

The NSA must be very giddy when seeing these drives.

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HiGHRoLLeR038

it's kinda cool how we've gone from 1TB, 2, 3, 4, skipped 5, and hit 6TB! heh. we really need a revolution though. these 1tb increments are boring. i want to see 10 or 15TB drives.

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FireGarden

I want to know when we'll get petabyte drives!

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AFDozerman

You just need about 35 of these and 175 6TB HDDS and you got yourself a petabyte! Not one HDD, but whatever.

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HiGHRoLLeR038

I thought we already reached the '1tb per platter' milestone. why take a step backwards?

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legionera

"But perhaps this technology -- and the resulting capacities -- will trickle into home user territory". 2 things:

1. The helium is not renewable source. If you let it go, it escapes into space. In fact we are running out of it. Until they reach the market of the computer enthusiast, the price will be skyrocketing.

2. Helium is very flammable and dangerous and I doubt there won't be at least a single case where it explodes.

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appleroxinhouston

1) it stays in earth's atmosphere
2) you're thinking of hydrogen

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FireGarden

1) That is completely wrong. It rises because it is very light and the sun and cosmic rays give it enough of an energy kick to reach escape velocity. This is why helium constitutes almost nothing of the Earth's atmosphere (0.00052% by volume).

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legionera

Thanks for the corrections

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NavarWynn

Wow...

1) He is not flammable. which should be pretty obvious since it is nearly chemically INERT.

2) As long as we are using natural gas, we have plenty of He (that's how we fill the goodyear blimb, and party balloons). Specific isotopes are considerably harder to obtain, and liquid He faces a shortage due to the sudden increase in radiation detectors used at US ports over the last decade. Of course liquid He is NOT the typical gaseous kind we are talking about. All the HDDs in the world filled w/ He instead of air wouldn't make a significant dent in our currently available supplies.

3) it IS renewable, at least until the radioactive isotopes in the earth stop undergoing alpha decay (just around the corner! in say a few billion years) *rolling eyes*

Watch out! inaccurate knowledge is contagious!

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FireGarden

I've never heard of a difference between liquid He and gaseous He. Explain the difference other than states induced by temperature/pressure change? As far as I understand it they are both made up of helium-4 atoms by the vast majority (unless a specific pure liquid/gaseous from another isotope is needed).

I agree with you on the natural gas thing - there's going to be enough helium for our short term needs. I'm guessing fracking will release helium too - but I don't know if it will be as high as a 7% yield.

EDIT: I've found the answer to my question. I misunderstood your wording. For those curious, it is helium-3 that is used in radiation detectors mentioned by NavarWynn and it is a very very rare isotope on Earth.

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Hey.That_Dude

very very rare *naturally*, but easily obtained from the decomposition of tritium (H-3)
My captcha for this post was SQWvP

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legionera

@NavarWynn

Thanks for the corrections.

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AFDozerman

I actually think that hydrogen would be better suited. It's half the density of helium, and in a pure hydrogen environment, flamablility wouldn't be an issue. Not only that, it's also renewable and highly available. Only downside is that it is more reactive than He and might corrode certain unsheilded components.

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Hey.That_Dude

The problem arises from leaks around a very hot spinning disk. If it fails, you're drive will die (a fiery death) instead of just operating at half speed with Helium.

No element is renewable. Ever. Hydrogen is easy to recover because there is a lot of it bound in other things (water, acids, all types of rocks, petrol products).
HOWEVER, if you still want to argue over the semantics of "renewable" look up the production method of Helium-3 (a lighter version of standard Helium-4). It's still possible to make Helium in as much quantity as we want.

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AFDozerman

I don't know of any component that gets hot enough to ignite hydrogen (other than old Nviidia GPUs). Even if it did ignite, the leak would be slow and the amount of H2 in a HDD wouldn't be enough to actually cause too much damage. One real possibility, though, is that the hydrogen would react with the Oxygen in the air, creating water inside of the HDD, as well as an electrical charge. That would be a REAL shitstorm.

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Hey.That_Dude

Hydrogen would ignite coming into contact with almost anything remotely electrical or hot in an oxygen atmosphere. HDD's have both. I have serious doubts about the integrity of the magnetics (and thus the data) as heat generally makes magnets prone to shift, especially high heat from combustion. Again, even if I'm being overly cautious, most people don't like small explosions in their computers.

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JCGPZ9

I'm surprised that they went with Helium after all the concerns about it running out.

Neon would be a pretty good candidate.

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Hey.That_Dude

Except that Neon is MORE dense than air... so it doesn't work very well. There's really only one other option than He and that's N2. (unless you want to do semi vacuum or full vacuum states which opens up some fun possibilities)

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Hey.That_Dude

Wow...
Just wow.
Helium ISN'T flammable. Hydrogen is flammable in an oxygen atmosphere (which we happen to have) in concentrations ranging from about 8-88%.

Other than that, you're right about it escaping and being hard to recover.
Also since it's so good at dissipating heat, I don't see this being used in Heat-Assisted Write drives of the future. In other words, this is likely just a temp patch to a problem. So there likely won't be a need to get to consumer markets and there won't be much of a drain on our current helium supplies.

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legionera

Thanks for the corrections

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Woden501

I'm afraid that you're confusing Helium with Hydrogen. Helium is not flammable. At least not in any instance where a normal consumer is going to be handling it.

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limitbreaker

Aren't we using loads of helium for party baloons? Compared to the tiny amount that a hard drive would need I don't think we have anything to worry about. One party balloon worth of helium can probably fill 20 HDD that'll be used for a decade, I say that's a very efficient use of this non renewable recourse.

(edit: this message is not directed at woden)

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carage

Where can I buy one?