The UltraStar He6 is the latest in storage technology by sealing helium (symbol He) into the drive enclosure. This drive is boasting the world’s largest capacity drive at 6 TeraBytes. This was announced by HGST which is a Western Digital subsidiary. It will fit within a standard 3.5″ enclosure.

Technically speaking, they claim that there is less drag on the platters inside the drive enclosure. Helium is has 7 times less density than air. This allowed them to now have 7 platters inside the 3.5″ enclosure instead of the typical 5. Another bonus is lower power consumption indicating these will only draw 5.3 Watts when idle which is about 24 percent lower than typical hard drives. Surprisingly even with the 7 discs inside, it is a bit lighter and tends to run cooler. It will be available in SAS and SATA 6 Gb per second flavours.

You can’t run out to the store and buy one just yet. HGST is targeting more enterprise installations by initially being offered to “cloud and research leaders” who will work with them. As you can imagine, a number of organizations have already jumped on board to test these out.

25 Comments
  1. 6 TB doesn’t seem like a lot to me. I would’ve thought there were some higher capacity drives in existence already. It’s so easy to get 1 and even 2 TB drives already for under £100, 6 doesn’t seem like such an achievement to me.

    Also, why helium? I’ve read it’s not actually 7 times less dense than air, btw. But couldn’t they just fill it with normal air, just at a lower pressure? That would be the same as using a different gas.

    As for security, I’d rather have 6 drives of 1 TB each than 1 drive of 6 TB, and nowadays solid state drives are starting to look like a better choice than these ancient platter-type constructions.

    So I’m not really in awe over this. It’s interesting news, but not amazing, imo.

    • The problem with solid states is that when you put them into your computer, you can only use them for like around 2 year which is a big bummer. They also cost way more than the Hard drive counter parts. It really does not seem like a lot but like when you think about it, its pretty impressive.

    • Helium has a Density of 0.17kg/m³
      Clean, dry Air (21% O2 and 78% N2) has a Density of 1.2g/m³.

      1.2g/m³ / 0.17g/m³ = 7.

      Air is ‘heavier’ by about 7 times the Density of an equal volume of Helium .

  2. Wow! it always advances in technology as well! It is impressive to see that we can now have all the space in this small object.

    I think it will be too expensive to be affordable, but I also feel that it will come soon in our computers. I still have to say that one is already enough for me.

    For me, it’s just interesting to see where we can go far.
    Our computers deviennt always more powerful … I wonder where the very edge of this evolution will be.

  3. Wow … That sounds like a real beast. Months ago I switched my 80 gb hard disk with a new one with a capacity of 500 GB and I still can’t get fill. I know that level of capacity is reserved for professional use, but anyway that sounds like a titanic number.

    My imagination runs of just imagine all that could save in that space. It’s amazing how thye multiply the storage level in such a short time, it’s just a matter of years. :O

  4. These run at what RPM? If it’s at least 10k, then I’m sure this will be very appealing to those who work with NLE video. No price was suggested, but I’ve already started thinking of ways to justify the purchase of at least two.

    I’m probably not the only one who uses my first computer as a benchmark of how fast technology is progressing. All it takes to be really “Wow’d” with something like this is to remember my first hard drive was only 2.5GB. 1996 seems so far in the past now!

    • I recently picked up a 500gb drive and I found that is plenty. I’m not sure what exactly I’d store on a 6 TB drive, but I’m guessing that this is more for commercial than personal use.

      Though other commenters have suggested that this still isn’t big enough. I guess that I’m not a big enough media consumer/gamer to require such a high capacity.

      I’m really intrigued by the use of helium and see if this is a density issue or a cost one.

  5. Wow 6TB, and here I thought 750GB for my Transcend StoreJet was high enough! Makes sense for the company to launch it for organizations and such before commercializing it to the public to be mass-produced.

    With that amount of memory, it would give me an easier time to store projects I’m starting to work on with Maya 2014, Zbrush, and other 3D Modeling and animation software. I wonder what the price range will be after they’re finished with testers on the product? Hopefully it can support USB 3.0 and 2.0, though I doubt USB 3.0 will be presented to modern technology for quite some time now.

    Thanks for the news update, looking forward to seeing more in the future!

  6. At the current rate of technology advancement, I would have thought that we would have been able to achieve a higher amount by now. But 6TB is still a lot for such a small thing. I remember back when people thought gigabytes were too big and they would have never needed that much space. Well, they were wrong!

    • I definitely agree with you on those points you’ve made, Geekola! This reminds me of how people thought 64-bit processors would never be implemented in the future because they thought it was impossible! And look at status quo of now, it completely changed how people conceptualized the standards and potential for technology to be a progressive phenomenon! I admit that there should be way more memory than this, but even for casual use, this is really something exceptional!

  7. Oh wow. Considering that just a few years ago 16GB was huge, this is really revolutionary. I feel ‘miserable’ with my 500GB HDD now haha. But I’m looking to get myself a protable HDD, but I probably won’t go as far as 6GB, probably not even more than 2!

  8. Very disappointing that we cannot get one yet. Saying that though I think it is good because what is the quality and performance standard, yes it uses less power and has less drag but what about long term how long will it last. Is it “durable” and how much testing has been done on it?

    Good to see technology being improved at such rates though but will wait to see some more solid reviews in the long run before rushing out and getting it.

    • Those are some valid arguments you’ve made, wwalford! When it comes to things becoming bigger and presumably faster than their predecessors, there’s a myriad of factors that come into play. Especially with whether or not the parts themselves would overheat, and whether or not there would be enough voltage to sustain that memory all at once! Then if one takes into consideration of the compatibility for electronics to even take in and recognize that level of memory is another concern that will hopefully be addressed in the near future.

  9. if your computer is equip with this hard disk with massive data storage.
    i think this is best computer ever, because you can download what ever you want.
    because of the unli storage. this is the best for now..but also with a high speed computer…..

    • The part where you mentioned of having a high speed computer for something like this is definitely a good statement, markjfrio! I’m also concerned on how aspects such as writing speed, and the durability of the product itself would compare to others. Sometimes processors may not be powerful enough to rearrange and format data consistently if they’re lower-end PCs or laptops. So maybe having a consumer version of this may take time, and considering how the price range must be insanely high for something like that, but only time will tell!

  10. Wow, just fantastic. It may not seem like a lot to the hardcore computer user, but 6 Terabytes is more than enough for 99% of computer users out there. It might be expensive now but soon I believe it will drop down in price and become affordable for the average Joe. When floppy disks came out, they had it so expensive that only big companies could afford them. And with some time, a few years later, it became a very cheap option that anyone could afford. I hope it will be the same for this and I’m guessing it will happen within a year or two seeing how fast technology is moving.

  11. 6TB! Can download a lot of HD movies in store them in here. Have they released pricing? With more and more people investing on cloud, external storage should also follow suit.

  12. I’m glad they reached 6TB. I think that it won’t be long and we will reach 10TB without a problem. Maybe 1-2 years more and technology will evolve and 6TB will be the norm.

    I’m just sorry that we can’t already buy one at the moment. I understand the need for testing it out first and I wish I could be one of those testers.

    I already have 1TB and I am almost full. With all the work, movies, games and music that I have on there, I will soon need an more TB.

  13. It’s good to see we now have 6TB. IMO, it’s not really that big if we begin to look at it from an advanced user’s perspective or even a hardcore media person. Nevertheless, I don’t need 6TB right now but knowing that I’ll be able to get it when its needs arises is a good news.

    Indeed technology has gone a long way.

  14. This sounds wonderful but my biggest fear is failure. I’d hate to have literally everything backed up in one spot. I try to sprinkle them between a few places so if one goes down I won’t lose everything.

  15. It’s good that they are coming out with devices that has more storage space. Especially for people that work with a business that required to save a lot of data.

  16. 6TB is kinda weak for what we’re developing now. Some manufacturers in Japan were able to make 40TB hard drives, which were in 3.5″ enclosures too, and were actually pretty revolutionary at that. They found a new way to store data on each platter, and without wasting helium.

  17. Our generic template for hard drives have never really impressed me. They were functioning like a stack of USB flash drives, each quite prone to viruses, malwares and trojans. But having it be made with that much of a capacity is probably one of the best things to have ever happened to a portable data storage. I hope this development would also mean that the external hard drives just might cater larger portions of data. The ones I often discover were mostly around 128GB and nothing for anything larger than that. Maybe they could also use helium on our external drives.

  18. How many gigabytes are in a Terabyte, I wonder. They should start installing these in iPhones, because my 16GB iPhone runs completely out of storage in weeks, regardless of the fact that I only have a couple hundred photos and 5 apps. But I wonder what this will be used for. Astronomy, computer technology, etc..

  19. Whilst this is clearly a great advance, I too worry about having all my eggs in one basket. I prefer to have my information spread out over three smaller drives, with certain documents being stored on all three, just in case. This is a real boon for those who have masses of data to back up though.

Leave a Reply