WD's Subsidiary HGST Announces Helium-filled Hard Drives

Discussion in 'Storage Devices and Memory' started by Rob Williams, Sep 14, 2012.

  1. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Moderator

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    The great thing about innovation is that it never has to end. Just when many were beginning to feel that roadblocks would prevent mechanical hard drives from progressing much further, WD's subsidiary HGST has just announced a small breakthrough. One of the biggest detriments to mechanical storage has been the fact that it's air-sealed. That of course offers no support to the platters, increasing drag and causing other maladies that could wear a drive out over time. The solution? Helium.

    [​IMG]

    Read the rest of our post and then discuss it here!
     
  2. madmat

    madmat Soup Nazi

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    If they really want to get the maximum efficiency from the minimal space inside a HDD they should put the drive in a chamber flooded with helium, enclose the drive and pull a vacuum before sealing it off. The vacuum offers even less mechanical resistance and whatever residual gas would be in the drive would be helium so it would still have the same benefit.
     
  3. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Moderator

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    From what I understand, current drive designs wouldn't allow a vacuum implementation. Some have said that it'd affect the gas that's needed to have the platters rotate smoothly while others have said you might die if you drop it on the ground and it explodes (that'd be cool to see).

    https://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&...0.680.4j3.7.0.les;cesh..0.0...1.1._ZrNN75tDOs

    Helium on the other hand basically compliments current designs a lot more so the implementation is easier.
     
  4. Tharic-Nar

    Tharic-Nar Senior Editor Staff Member Moderator

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    Air is required for the heads to float above the platter surface, the high speed spinning creates the layer, preventing the head from crashing into the platter.
     
  5. madmat

    madmat Soup Nazi

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    I wonder if you'd still get the boundary layer if it was a soft vacuum rather than a hard vacuum.
     
  6. Tharic-Nar

    Tharic-Nar Senior Editor Staff Member Moderator

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    Vacuums can leak, even sealed low pressure 'pockets' will eventually normalise after a year, especial with large temperature changes. With these helium drives, can they maintain the gas inside without loss? Evaporation can occur with only a few nanometers gap in the structure.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2012
  7. madmat

    madmat Soup Nazi

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    No soup for you!
    I've seen vacuum tubes older than I am that are still going strong. Sealed properly they won't leak.
     

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