HGST 6TB helium drive price squeaky high

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.
Written by Robin Harris, Contributor

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?

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