HGST Announces World's First 10TB Hard Disk Drive

Western Digital subsidiary HGST has announced the world's first 10TB hard disk drive, the SMR HelioSeal HDD. As suggested by its name, these things pack two of the latest methods in drive manufacturing – helium and shingled magnetic recording – to reach that ridiculously high capacity.

 

 

The SMR HelioSeal is HGST's second drive to pack helium, after the 6TB Ultrastar He6. The capacity boost is provided by shingled magnetic recording (SMR), which overlaps data tracks on the seven platter surfaces instead of side by side. Unfortunately, this will decrease sustained write speeds as the drive has to “unearth” overlapped tracks to modify them.

For the mostly capacity-focused scenarios that HGST suggests to end users, though, the slower write speed may not matter too much. These are the drives that Google and Facebook will be stuffing en masse into their data centers to hold all the photos, videos, and other data that their users upload daily.

 

 

Anyway, on the same day it announced the SMR HelioSeal HDD, HGST showcased its Ultrastar He8 and Ultrastar 7K6000 drive families. The former are also helium-backed but drop SMR for an 8TB flagship capacity. The latter are traditional, air-breathing units that go up to 6TB, and will apparently be HGST's last enterprise drive family without helium.

 

 

While HGST doesn't yet provide many other specifics on the HelioSeal HDD, its counterparts boast 128MB buffers, 7200 RPM rotational speeds, SAS 12Gbps or SATA 6Gbps interfaces, and a bewildering away of models with different per-sector sizes, from 512 to 4224 bytes.

Being enterprise-focused and bleeding-edge, you can bet all of these drives will be very expensive, and even the ordinary consumers who have the cash will find them difficult to source. As it is, HGST are currently “sampling” the 10TB HelioSeal HDDs, while sending Ultrastar He8s and 7K6000s to various companies for qualification.