Western Digital planning to launch efficient helium-filled hard drives by year's end

By Shawn Knight · 13 replies
Oct 28, 2013
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  1. Western Digital recently reaffirmed plans to ship helium-filled seven-platter hard drives to customers by the end of this calendar year. The company is already sampling sealed drives with select customers as of writing, we’re told.

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  2. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    Hey maybe it has another advantage, if you drop it, it won't hit the floor so hard thus not destroying itself and your data. :)
    lmike6453 and PC nerd like this.
  3. motrin

    motrin TS Booster Posts: 162   +15

    Does this mean I have to start using screws to hold down my HD's?
    lmike6453 and PC nerd like this.
  4. Shipping should be easy, put a gps tracker on it and throw it in the customer's direction. It'll float to the destination, just make sure you keep an eye on the gps so you don't miss it.
    PC nerd likes this.
  5. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,828   +633

    Initially this will probably be enterprise level drives, the R&D has to be paid off before consumer drives will be affordable. Also Helium is going to go up in price, there's already a "shortage" of the stuff, now hard drives are going to use it too, when the shortage happens expect prices to rise.
    freythman likes this.
  6. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,020   +2,548

    Oh no, could this be the and of those annoying children's birthday balloons as we know them?:eek:

    I suppose they could fill be filled with hydrogen, but that would place them at the mercy of every old curmudgeon, (such as myself), with a cigarette lighter and a bad attitude.....:p

    On second thought, if we're short of Helium, couldn't we tap Elon Musk for an idea to visit the Sun and bring us back a few hundred thousand metric tons? Tell him we're looking to him for our salvation. That should motivate him to invent a "yap propelled rocket", so he can talk his way there and back.
    Matthew and freythman like this.
  7. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    No S$$t! Party City already has a 3 balloon limit.
  8. Tekkaraiden

    Tekkaraiden TS Evangelist Posts: 997   +93

    Why don't they just skip using helium and have a vacuum instead?
  9. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,020   +2,548

    Because it's completely inert. A vacuum could conceivably be penetrated. Arguably, if the helium is at one atmosphere, there's a null potential for migration.

    Besides, I think you need the temperature of a star to fuse helium, and even at that all you get is lithium.

    DISCLAIMER: As we are heading into mischief night, you have to understand this is pure, speculative, bulls***....:p
  10. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,728   +3,703

    But storage solution within the cloud is easier with helium.

    Now for a serious question, one that I've never really thought about. If you could pull a vacuum on a hot air balloon instead of filling it with hot air, would it still float?

    Would a balloon filled with vacuum instead of helium float?
    OK, so my original comment about helium was incorrect as a vacuum filled hard drive would weigh less. So for cloud storage you want a vacuum filled hard drive. LOL

    P.S. - I hope no one takes me serious regarding cloud storage.
  11. You can't use a vacuum. You still need some kind of gas to act as an "air bearing". Without it the head has a greater chance of hitting the platters.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  12. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    I like that idea. If he says it's far too hot & bright to go to the sun, we could always try convince him to go at night.
  13. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,728   +3,703

    Ahh true! Thats another concept I hadn't considered. LOL
  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,020   +2,548

    What the hell are you doing now? Just letting them slop around the case?

    I think they should invent a helium filled motherboard. Which in your instance, would relieve you of the trouble of bolting that down either.

    Just think, in a perhaps not too distant future, they'll have all floating parts. Then you won't even need to own a screwdriver.

    But really, with today's non floating parts, it's still a good idea to tack them down with at least a piece of double stick tape. If that's off the budget, try a wad of bubblegum....

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