Helium to increase hard drive storage at WD

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What do balloons have in common with hard drives? Typically not much, but a new range of hard drives from WD may change that.

The next time you look at a hard drive, it might be totally different from everything you’ve seen, and not just because they now feature bigger storage sizes or faster technology inside.

They say it’s what’s on the inside that counts, and in the case of the WD HelioSeal hard drives, that’s certainly true, with helium used on the inside of the hard drives, a lighter-than-air gas that helps a hard drive use less power, operate more quietly, and even fit more storage in because it practically kills turbulence, which in turn allows more platters to be installed in the space required for a hard drive.

More platters means more storage, and the technology — which was created by the WD-owned Hitachi Global Storage (HGST) — means you can find larger amounts of space in the same sized drives we’ve been seeing for ages.

Right now, that means 3.5 inch drives, the sort used for desktops, servers and storage systems like the WD MyCloud Mirror and EX series of devices, though WD could end up bringing the technology to more form-factors later on, suggesting larger backup sizes will be possible down the track.

WD’s My Cloud Mirror will be updated to support the new helium-filled tech.


“We are committed to integrating high-performance, high-capacity and high-quality drives into all of our solutions,” said Brendan Collins, Vice President of Product Marketing at Western Digital.

“No matter what market or application, we have a solution,” he said, “whether it’s for small businesses, channel partners, enterprises or end-users. Our goal is to deliver the best and most competitive solutions on the market.”

Right now, that solution is specifically for hard drives made for lots of data, with the WD Red and Red Pro getting the increase in technology, as well as the surveillance hard drive in WD’s Purple range, while external drive solutions in the My Cloud and My Book range will also see the helium-injected hard drive range, starting with 8TB drives in the My Book, arriving in March for a recommended retail price of $499.99.