HGST 6TB helium drive price squeaky high

HGST 6TB helium drive price squeaky high

Summary: HGST's new helium-filled drive is a tech coup, but at what price? Now we know. If you're space and/or power constrained it's a win. Everyone else: wait for the price to drop.

TOPICS: Storage, Hardware

The HGST helium drive - HUS726060ALS640 - is available online for $729 a copy or 12.15¢/GB. Compared to $160 4TB desktop drives at 4¢/GB it's silly high - but that's the wrong comparison.

The helium drive is an enterprise SATA drive - 2million hour MTBF, error rate of 1 in 10^15 - and the 4TB versions of those HGST drives are over 8¢/GB. For that 50% premium HGST claims it

. . . reduces power consumption by 23% compared to an equivalent air-filled drive side-by-side. It also enables them to add 2 additional platters - for a total of 7 - to their 3.5" disks, which should mean ≈6TB drives.

The drives also run 4°C (7°F) cooler. They calculate that the total improvement in watts-per-TB is 45 percent, which they expect to improve as the helium-filled drive platform enables higher drive capacities in future products.

The Storage Bits take
HGST announced the drive almost 18 months ago - a long lead time even by OEM standards - and claimed they started shipping last November. They've had some challenges getting it into volume production.

Initial pricing fully reflects that "watts-per-TB" 45% improvement, but don't expect the price to stay there. Other vendors will crash the 6TB party, and as HGST masters the yield curve their costs will drop too.

But this is an enterprise drive and is priced like one. If it has traditional HGST reliability and the power and cooling savings are real, it will find a market.

Just not on your desktop.

Comments welcome, as always. Is watts-per-TB something your datacenter cares about?

Topics: Storage, Hardware

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  • Price per GB outrageous

    The price per GB is usually what most people and companies use when purchasing. And this price is ridiculous.
  • Don't forget the slot costs


    Power isn't the only way that a denser disk drive can save customers money. With the HGST 6TB drives at $730/ea and Seagate Constellation ES 4TB drives $329 at NewEgg 24TB worth of drives would cost $2920 in 6TB drives and $1980 in 4TB drives but the 6TB drives will take up 2 fewer drive slots.

    Even in a low end enclosure like the Infortrend JB2016 with a single SAS expander costs $350 a slot making slot plus drive costs for the 4TB drives roughly $4100 and $4300 for the 6TB drives. In an enterprise system where slot costs significantly higher the total cost/GB of the 6TB drives coulld be lower than for 4TB drives especially if the customer can avoid buying another shelf that won't be fully populated.

    - Howard
    • Very true indeed

      Very true regarding the slot costs. In addition, some client installs are very limited. Either limited or no rack space for additional storage enclosures combined with a client not running central storage.

      Sometimes you are left with whatever the server can support with the number of slots available. Being able to increase individual drive capacity is sometimes the only way for smaller shops.
  • Helium is precious and non-renewable resource

    Don't just waste it on storing files.

    These drives should have "Must Recycle" logo
    • What???

      Helium is an extremely common gas, more of it arrives in our atmosphere every day...from the Sun...you know, the solar wind thing? The biggest problem is separating it.
    • If that's the case...

      ...then someone should put all these party stores out of business stat because they'd be using considerably more helium in balloons than these drives would. Least t6he Helium in the drives is productive, folk buy balloons to either pop or later inhale to humorous effect at parties where copious amounts of alcohol or other substances are consumed...

      All joking aside, if you're concerned about the Helium depletion, start looking at the industries who really consume a s**t-tonne of it: Cryogenics for starters uses a good 25% of the annual supply. Factor in silicon wafer production and arc-welding and that's another 50% gone.

      Somehow I can't see Helium usage in drives being that much of an issue considering the rapid pace we're going to solid state alternatives (SSD, FusionIO etc).
      Lost In Clouds of Data
    • Fear not!

      By the time the world grows short of helium, 'scientists' will have figured out how to make the stuff for pennies a ton: it'll be so cheap that they won't bother charging for it.

      (Nope, there is no shortage of helium that I've heard of. There's also no reason for believing the knee-jerk, high-frontier, Heinlein-esque silliness that gets trotted out when anyone suggests conserving/not destroying anything you care to name.)