The History Of The Hard Drive And Its Future


2013: First Helium-filled Hard Drive To Ship

HGST in September introduced plans to ship helium-filled hard drives starting in 2013. Replacing the air inside a hard drive with helium removes the friction and fluttering of platters as they spin at high speed, allowing drives to come with more platters in a given space than possible in air-filled drives.

HGST, now a part of Western Digital, developed new ways of sealing the drives to prevent the eventual leakage of helium, which is lighter than air, out of the drives once they are manufactured.

The biggest question going forward will be how long the helium supply will last, as the U.S. government, holder of most of the world's stocks of the gas from the days when it was used for lighter-than-air aircraft, is selling those stocks.