Western Digital today announced the HGST Ultrastar Hs14, its first 3.5″ hard disk with a capacity of 14TB that spins at 7200 RPM. To achieve the high capacity, the disks are filled with helium which makes that the platters can be closer to each other.
The Ultrastar ‘Helioseal’ 14 has a 512MB cache and will be available in variants with either a SATA or SAS interface. Western Digital specifies a 233MB/s (max) sustained transfer rate and writes that the drives are targeted for usage in data centers.
Besides helium, also Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) technology makes the high capacity possible. SMR allows writing magnetic tracks that overlap part of the previously written magnetic track, leaving the previous track narrower and allowing for higher track density.
Another reason the high capacity is possible, is due to the usage of helium. This gas has a lower density than air which has the benefit that platters and heads suffer from less friction. This in its turn reduces generation of heat which allows platters to be closer to each other. Because in helium it takes less energy to rotate the platters, the helium filled HDDs also consume less energy. To properly function the HDDs have to be airtight.
The 14TB drive was already announced at the end of last year together with the introduction of a HGST 12TB HDD that has similar internals as today’s announced 14TB drive.
Western Digital has not disclosed any pricing information, however the 12TB currently sells at $675.