Western Digital is working to deliver a new helium filled harddrive to be introduced to the market in 2013. Current day harddrives use open enclosures, with holes in the drive enclosure to vent air through the drive. Western Digital’s new drives will be sealed and filled with helium gas. Helium is much less dense than regular air. The helium filled enclosure will exert much less force on the drive’s spinning heads thereby reducing the power required by nearly 25%. The helium flowing between the harddrive platters will also allow Western Digital to place the drive’s components much closer together. This will allow them to fit seven platters inside the drive enclosure, up from the current standard of five, and realize a much higher storage capacity. An added benefit is a reduced noise profile for the new drives.
The technology has been known in the industry for about 10 years but implementation of the sealed drives has always been a problem.
“It looks like Western Digital has finally figured out the process to do it in high volume with a device customers can rely on.”
Pricing and release dates are still unknown but WD expects to begin releasing helium-filled drive models in 2013.
Source: Wall Street Journal, Western Digital