Helium hard drives are just like the regular hard drives. The only difference is that the air in the standard hard drives is replaced with helium in the helium hard drives. Helium is a gas that is seven times less dense than air. With the help of this gas, the disks in the hard drive create less turbulence and vibration when they spin. The helium also helps in heat reduction and even consumption of less energy when the spindle motor is rotating the disks. All these factors contribute to the increased speed of the helium hard drives.
The helium hard drives work in a very simple way. A regular hard disk is sealed up and filled with helium. This helps it to gain a high capacity. It is important to know that any hard drive requires a very thin layer of air that will act as a cushion between the read and write platters. If the air inside the disk is replaced with helium, the read\write platters will spin faster than before and with less resistance. Reduced resistance gives the helium hard drive more efficiency.
With the less dense gas, the spinning platters create less turbulence. If you make the layer of helium separating those spinning platters thinner, you will be able to add more platters in the closed area. In one enclosure of a helium hard drive, you can pack up to seven spinning disks.
For more efficiency, the helium disk drive components have to go through repeated baking procedures. This will help to get rid of any other gases that might interfere with the manufacturing process.
When the helium hard drive was first introduced in the market by the western digital company, it had a space of six terabytes. It was a significant capacity boost when compared to the other hard drives. The device also consumed less energy.
Despite the many advantages the helium-filled hard disks have to offer, there is a risk of the very tiny helium atoms leaking. These helium atoms can leak through the thin Aluminium base plates that cover the drives. To avoid the helium from leaking, vacuum casting is ensured. The base plates being produced have very few defects. These plates can be sealed for five or more years without leaking. Apart from leaking, this sealing helps to prevent contaminants from affecting the helium hard drive.
Helium hard drives are becoming popular these days. Some of the markets using them are the cold storage and the immersion data centers. In the cold storage, you can upload the data that you rarely need such as photos and then access them anytime you want. Helium-filled hard drives are used in the immersion data centers because they are watertight. The hard drives are submerged in a non-conducting fluid that is similar to mineral oil. This fluid helps to cool the drives even when they are run at relatively high temperatures.
With the ability to operate in more severe environmental conditions, the increased capacity, reduced friction and vibration, less energy consumption and less heat, the helium hard drives is a product that the public computing systems and the corporate data centers cannot resist.