back to article Damn well knew it! Seagate has helium drives in its labs

Seagate told analysts on Wednesday it is crafting its own helium-filled drives in its development labs, and is months away from shipping them as products. Helium gas has lower friction than air, and HGST is using this gas inside its sealed He8 and He10 disk drive enclosures to provide 7-platter drives. The platters can be …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording, fyi.

  2. DJV Silver badge

    Yeah but... the vocals of any mp3 tracks stored on it sound a bit squeaky?

    1. Francis Boyle


      since they added autotune to the firmware.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So they will use their shingling tech with helium filled drives.. And create a new range of shingling drives that only have 12 months wawanty and from my experience die prematurly because of how shingling works.

    On a side note, not so happy, as a seagate drive that had already been through rma once decided to short, melt a sata power connector and kill a power supply im my home server at the weekend.... Got home to a house full of very burnt electrical smell. Thanks seagate.

    1. What_Does_Not_Kill_You_Makes_You_Stronger

      You Lucky Lucky B..........

      Lucky to get home to a house .... period.

      20,000 Electrical fires in the UK a year. (Statistic from

      Be happy it was only a Drive ....... and your Data was backed up wasn't it :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      and from my experience die prematurly because of how shingling works

      Presumably the He will also leak out over time, given that they can at best control leakage rather than prevent it. I wonder what that means for drive longevity? The write endurance of SSDs might start to seem like quite an attractive problem to have, when you consider the future HDD mix of He filled enclosures, physical risks of high areal density, shingled recording, and the complexity of the laser death record head.

      As always, back your data up to tablets of stone.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Helium drives are filled at atmospheric pressure, so "leaking out" is a misnomer.

        There's some leakage but not much (look at a helium - filled balloon. Whilst they deflate a lot to start with they eventually reach a point where any further leakage takes _years_)

        Yes, it'll get out any gaps but it does have trouble getting out through proper metal seals. The result is that the amount of helium in the drive doesn't change enough to be noticeable over the lifetime of the device (5 years)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But more importantly

    Has Stifel's mom got it going on?

  5. Alan Brown Silver badge


    "Seagate believes it is likely that China's MOFCOM will permit the integration of Western Digital (WD) and HGST."

    Whilst that is probably true long term, I'm pretty damned sure that MOFCOM will only allow it once SSD vs HDD inflection point has been reached in the larger sizes.

    We all know that merger will result in HGST quality going down to that of WD, not the other way around and there are market problems in having a functional duopoly (toshiba don't produce enough spinning rust to be a major contender) that's already slashed warranties across the board.

  6. Ryan Kendall


    Why can't they just run a low pressure vacuum instead of being filled with a different gas?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Vacuum

      you must have at least a few molecules inside the drive container to lift the heads off the platters.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE. Re: Vacuum

    Indeed. Although one option being considered is maglev (i'm serious!) using a pyrolytic graphite layer under the data layer which levitates a specially shaped copper plate.

    The plan here is to use a specific area of the disk just for levitating the heads, and the write/read stack of heads between this.

    It also avoids the need to fill the drive with expensive rare gases and can be used in space with minimal filtering.

    Contrary to popular belief it is rapidly alternating *strong* magnetic fields that damage data stored on hard disks, HAMR+maglev+3D-NAND could enable >16TB 2.5" or even 1TB Iphones.

    1. Ryan Kendall

      Re: RE. Vacuum

      or just buy any other mobile phone where you can slip in a nice big 1TB microSD card.

  8. fearnothing

    If they're capable of producing airtight seals, why not produce drives with semi-vacuum?

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