For more than 50 years, hard disk drives have run on air. That’s about to change. Western Digital is preparing to launch a line of hard drives filled with helium gas that is said to drastically reduce internal friction and thus lower power consumption by 23% while increasing capacity by 40%.
The 3.5-in data center drives, developed by WD subsidiary Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST), are expected to be available next year. The hermetically sealed drives are filled with helium, which is one-seventh the density of air.