Seagate Technology said at a conference call with investors and financial analysts that it would release a hard disk drive with 6TB capacity in the beginning of the second quarter, 2014. The company did not reveal a lot of details about the upcoming product, but noted that this would be an enterprise-class hard drive.
“We are continuing to expand our offering of high capacity drives with our six-disk, 6TB drive shipping early next quarter,” said Steve Luczo, chairman and chief executive of Seagate.
At present 6TB hard disk drives in 3.5” form-factor are available exclusively from Western Digital Corp.’s HGST. Those drives are based on the HelioSealed platform and are filled with helium, which allows to install up to seven platters into an industry-standard package.
The density of helium is one-seventh that of air, delivering significant advantages to HGST’s sealed-drive platform. The lower density means dramatically less drag force acting on the spinning disk stack so that mechanical power into the motor is substantially reduced. The lower helium density also means that the fluid flow forces buffeting the disks and the arms, which position the heads over the data tracks, are substantially reduced allowing for disks to be placed closer together (i.e., seven disks in the same enclosure) and to place data tracks closer together (i.e., allowing continued scaling in data density). The lower shear forces and more efficient thermal conduction of helium also mean the drive will run cooler and will emit less acoustic noise.
Seagate’s hard drive will utilize six proven 1TB platters, which are based on PMR [perpendicular magnetic recording technology]. Usage of platters featuring shingled magnetic recording (SMR) technology with 25% higher areal density could allow Seagate to offer up to 7.5TB hard drives. It is unknown whether Seagate will fill its drives with a gas, like its arch-rival, or will not.