HGST, a division of Western Digital, has released the world’s largest conventional hard drive, the Ultrastar HE12, which is a sealed drive using helium and a capacity of 12TB. This is a fourth generation helium based drive, and it uses PMR (perpendicular magnetic recording) technology. The new HE12 model is intended for commercial use, but the benefits of this type of technology does eventually make its way to consumer drives as well.
The larger capacity in this drive is due to using 8 platters, instead of the 7 seen in the previous generation of drives. Western Digital has also been working hard to improve energy efficiency, and they claim this drive, at idle, will use only 54% of the power of a regular, air filled drive of 8TB.
The HGST HE12 is offered in two interfaces, SATA and the faster SAS design. It is also a self-encrypting drive and offers an “instant erase feature.”
This won’t be the final size increase, for Western Digital has already signaled that they will release a 14TB drive soon, and their rivals at Seagate will soon match this 12TB drive and have a 16TB model that will come in 2018.
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