Seagate Begins Volume Shipment of 10TB Helium-Filled Enterprise Capacity 3.5" HDD

Subject: Storage | April 29, 2016 - 01:36 PM |
Tagged: Seagate, helium, hdd, Enterprise Capacity 3.5, 10TB

We’ve seen a ramp up of Helium filled-hard drives lately, first with HGST, and more recently with Western Digital Red 8TB and Gold 8TB. It seems Seagate also wants in on the fun:

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This drive was initially paper-launched back in January, but now Seagate claims it is shipping in volume. While that original release and today’s update both lack performance specs, there are a few interesting tidbits sprinkled in there:

  • This is a CMR drive, not SMR, meaning that it can be written randomly without any of the batch write penalties of Shingled Magnetic Recording.
  • ‘Advanced write caching capabilities’ hints at a form of the media cache tech present in the HGST He6/He8 and also recently adopted by the WD 8TB Gold.
  • The Seagate 10TB release from earlier this year stated that his model will be a 7-platter design with 14 heads. Helium enables thinner platters, and 7-platter designs began appearing in the HGST He6.
  • At nearly 1.5TB per platter and an assumed spindle speed of 7200 RPM, we can infer that the base specs should be reasonably impressive.

New press blast appears after the break. Original launch blast is linked here.


Building on the Broadest Portfolio in the Industry, Cutting-Edge Helium Technology to be added to Entire Seagate Nearline Product Line

CUPERTINO, CA – April 26, 2016 - Seagate Technology plc (NASDAQ: STX), a world leader in storage solutions, today announced it is now shipping in volume its 10TB helium enterprise drives— the Seagate® Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDD. Engineered to meet the storage needs of top cloud service providers, the Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDD features the industry’s lowest power and weight for maximum space efficiency at the lowest energy usage— lowering the overall total cost of ownership (TCO) of today’s large scale data centers. Currently the highest capacity drives available worldwide, these innovative new products are now available to purchase direct from global distributors.

“Seagate has the most comprehensive Nearline portfolio in the industry. Each of our Nearline products – including our new flagship 10TB helium enterprise drive shipping today – is designed to help customers take maximum advantage of top technology trends that have the highest impact on their business,” said Mark Re, CTO at Seagate. “While we offer a number of impressive technology advantages, at the end of the day customers really want solutions and insights that help them better leverage the value of their data so they can offer services and capabilities unmatched by their competitors. Seagate’s 10TB helium drive is designed with these market mandates front of mind.”

“Seagate is once again at the forefront of innovation with our Nearline portfolio. Our new 10TB drive boasts advanced write caching capabilities for better performance and the lowest weight and the best energy efficiency in the industry- making this new drive is a real game changer,” said John Morris, vice president of enterprise products at Seagate. “Now shipping in volume to our global strategic customers like Ciara and Supermicro, we are pleased to bring this drive to market with the knowledge that it provides highly-valued and unprecedented performance for our customers’ hyperscale solutions.”

Announced in January in conjunction with partners Huawei and Alibaba, the Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDD improves performance by using advanced caching algorithms to help cloud data center managers manage the increasing volume of data more quickly. Featuring Seagate PowerChoice™ technology, the drive helps businesses manage and reduce the ongoing costs associated with power and cooling during idle time, while Seagate’s PowerBalance™ feature helps optimize the IOPS/Watt for even greater efficiency. 

“Seagate’s 10TB Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDD expands Supermicro’s hyperscale server and storage solutions optimized for cloud solution providers. With Supermicro’s 4U 60/90 3.5” top-load hot-swap bay server and single expander JBOD storage solutions,Seagate helium-based high capacity drives provide a robust foundation for building OpenStack cloud infrastructure, delivering maximum performance, scalability and capacity density at the lowest overall TCO,” said Don Clegg, vice president of marketing and business development at Supermicro.

“Reliability and performance in a storage solution are key criteria for Ciara’s cloud initiative. Seagate’s new helium-based 10TB Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDD meets and exceeds both of these criteria,” said Darcy Letemplier, vice president of engineering, at Ciara. “Our partnership is a natural choice because of our combined intimate knowledge of the storage industry and a thorough understanding of cloud service providers’ needs.”

For more information on the new 10TB helium Seagate Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDD and all Seagate products please visit

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April 29, 2016 | 02:04 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I have seen Seagate drives for really cheap prices, but I haven't had too much luck with them. The first external drive I bought many years back started making clicking noises. It still seemed to work, but something was definately not right. It may have still been inside it's warranty period, but it was just a 1 TB model; I didn't bother trying to get it replaced. The second one I bought still seems to work after a couple years, but the USB port is now loose. Any movement of the cable while it is on will cause a disconnect. I am wondering if I can pull the drive and plug it into an internal connector. I seen articles saying that they have a higher failure rate in general (not sure if true) but I am staying away from them in the future. I think I will build a small NAS set-up to replace my external back-up drives, probably with WD drives.

I don't think I would buy one of these giant drives anyway, but I don't need that much space. I would probably rather have three 3 or 4 TB drives for some redundancy rather than one 10 GB drive. Even if you need something like 20 or 30 TB then these may still not make that much sense due to the cost per GB. I am not sure what the current sweet spot is for the lowest cost per GB. Although, for that much storage in smaller drives, you would need a NAS box or other computer with a lot of drive bays.

April 29, 2016 | 02:43 PM - Posted by funandjam

I'm still using my Seagate 750Gb Hybrid drive I got about 4 years ago, still running just fine(maybe i'm lucky and got a good unit?). The only problem I ran into is not enough space. At the rate that games are steadily increasing in size, large volume drives like the one in this article don't seem so ridiculous anymore. And not just the initial install size of hte game, some games get steady updates that continually grow the size of the game (I'm looking directly at you payday2!)

April 29, 2016 | 03:40 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Well, well, well. Stuck at 2TB for a decade and then SSD start to coming in larger capacities and HDDs suddenly start to grow again. Lol, It's actually pretty mind blowing when you think about how much information there is in just a megabyte, and then realize we are fortunate to be alive in this time.

April 29, 2016 | 07:12 PM - Posted by Anonymouse (not verified)

>It's actually pretty mind blowing when you think about how much information there is in just a megabyte...<

If you're referring to text then yea, but 1MB is nothing these days. A 32Kbps MP3 track (average length) wont be very nice on the ears and we're no longer in the early days of 10 sec standard def videos.

When I think 1MB I think floppies.

April 29, 2016 | 07:59 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Well it could be interesting for archiving movies particularly masters with lossless compression. I'm very curious to see the impact of the CMR technology on performances, power consumption and cost.

April 30, 2016 | 02:36 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I want more platters and dual read/write head assemblies, having 2 sets of R/W heads and more platters for some good old "cylinder mode" storage for more track/sectors under the R/W heads and entire larger files able to remain under the R/W heads/single track position without the need to move the heads to other tracks. The more platters the better for larger files to be able to line up track to track on all the platters top to bottom(cylinder mode style). Dual read write heads for redundancy and faster access with both R/W head assemblies able to work in unison for faster file transfers. Throw some larger SSD/NAND SLC secondary disk cache and larger primary DDR RAM cache sizes into the mix for even better performance.

May 1, 2016 | 10:15 AM - Posted by joshtekk4life (not verified)

just stop, i'm starting to get a R/w head-ache!

May 1, 2016 | 01:00 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

That's two fully independent read/write head assemblies with their own controller complexes! Let's get 33 platters for 64 tracks per cylinder plus 2 parity tracks on the 33rd platter. Then we could write a full machine word at a time, and with 2 fully independent read/write head assemblies double that machine word for two machine words R/W(for 64 bit processors)! We'll keep that large SLC NAND cache for storing the paging files with an automatic write through mode in the background to the spinning rust portion for some redundancy! So disks writes start out going to the DRAM first level Cache that is write through to the NAND cache in the background, which is itself written in the background to the drive's spinning rust, as determined by a tiered storage caching model and complex algorithms on the master controller complex/firmware.

Don't forget the background optical ports/cables to feed the off site Tape Drives for some real off site backup in the underground vault/bunker under the sea a safe distance from the Valcano Lare, should Bond show up and trash the place!

April 30, 2016 | 11:50 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

14 heads! Just remember backups are important folks.

May 2, 2016 | 09:00 PM - Posted by wcg

Still have a 1GB (one gig, that's right) 3.5" drive that I got for $600 which was a steal at the time.

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