HGST introduced the Ultrastar He6 6TB in November. The drive is not only the first to offer 6TB of storage in a single 3.5" chassis, but also the first to be filled with helium. Although the He6 was initially available only to a "select group of customers," it’s now popped up at a couple of online outlets. DiscountTechnology is selling the SAS version for $895, while Amazon partner Memory Expo USA has the SATA incarnation for $798. Both vendors have drives in stock.
Those prices work out to over $0.13 per gigabyte—about double the cost of HGST’s Ultrastar 4TB. The highest-capacity drives have always come with a price premium attached, though. Keep in mind that the He6 delivers 50% more storage than the largest 3.5" drives on the market right now.
Plus, you know, it’s filled with helium. The noble gas is much lighter than air, which reduces resistance and turbulence within the chassis, allowing HGST to squeeze seven platters into a form factor that typically holds no more than five. Despite the extra platters, the He6 is said to run 4-5°C cooler and consume 23% less power than existing 4TB drives. HGST didn’t back off on the spindle speed, either. The Ultrastar He6 spins its platters at 7,200 RPM.
$800 is still an awful lot to pay for a single hard drive, but the street price could fall if the He6 becomes available at a wider range of outlets. It won’t be the only 6TB hard drive on the market for long, either. During Seagate’s latest earnings call, CEO Steve Luczo promised to ship a 6TB drive "early next quarter." That drive won’t be filled with helium. However, it could use the Shingled Magnetic Recording tech Seagate introduced in September. Thanks to VR-Zone’s Chinese site for the tip.