HGST began to ship its 8TB helium-filled hard disk drives to partners among makers of servers and storage equipment back in September. By now the new drives with unprecedented capacity have made it to retail, but their prices are so extreme that even computer enthusiasts will hardly buy them.
HGST’s Ultrastar He8 8TB 3.5” hard disk drives feature 7200rpm spindle speed, 128MB DRAM buffer and SAS-6Gb/s, SAS-12Gb/s or SATA-6Gb/s interfaces. The drive is based on seven 1.2TB PMR platters and is filed with helium in order to shrink the distance between platters without increasing risks and sacrificing performance. HGST declares 205MB/s maximum sustained transfer rate and 4.16ms typical latency for its top-of-the-range HDDs.
At present the Ultrastar He8 8TB are available in the U.S. at Amazon and Newegg for $933 and $899, respectively. In Japan the drive is available at one retail store in Akihabara district for ¥79800 ($695, €559, £438). In mainland Europe the HDD is available starting from €619.
HGST’s helium-filled hard drives are not designed for consumers, which is why their prices are so high. It will take years for such HDDs to become more or less affordable. Moreover, not a lot of consumers actually need HDDs with extreme capacities since it is not a problem to install multiple drives into a desktop system or use a low-cost NAS device.
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KitGuru Says: The fact that HGST already ships its Ultrastar He8 to retailers means that it can meet demand from its primary customers. This is a good sign as it means that there are no problems to produce helium-filled HDDs in volumes.