Hard drives have been around for more than fifty years and they survived by breathing air. This is now going to change with the new helium filled hard drives from Western Digital that will not only have more capacity but, will also consume less power.

To be available commercially sometime next year, the hard drive is being claimed as one of the biggest innovation the company has come up with is the last eight years. “It’s our biggest technological innovation in the last eight years,” said Brendan Collins, VP Product Marketing at Hitachi Global.

While speaking about storage capacity, Collins said that it will now be possible to increase the capacity of current hard drive by fitting more platters in the same amount of space available. Because of the density of air, when the platters are spinning, there is this drag which will call for more power consumption to keep the platters spinning. This is where, according to Collins, helium comes into picture. Because helium’s density is one seventh that of air much less drag is crated which in turn would require less power to keep the platters spinning.

Further, because of the lower turbulence the amount of space required for the platter and head also reduces. This is how helium filled hard drives can have increased capacity because more platters can be crammed in to the same amount of space. Collins said, “With helium, we can cram seven platters in the same space as five platters today.”

According to Collins, helium filled drives will have 40 per cent more capacity while consuming 23 per cent less energy.

[Source: Computer World]