Seagate has introduced its second-generation of helium-filled HDDs. These drives will be aimed at capacity-demanding enterprise and cloud applications, and the new drives store up to 12 TB of data. The new drive uses eight platters, which is more than the first generation model, but its power consumption remains below typical air-filled HDDs. The new capacity point from Seagate should enable customers to increase the amount of data they store per standard rack by 20% when compared to previous-gen models.

The Seagate Enterprise Capacity v7 3.5-inch HDDs are based on the company’s seventh-gen enterprise-class platform, with multiple features designed to reduce the number of errors, as well as reducing the vibration impact on internal components and improving the security and the endurance of the device. Traditionally such drives have more robust mounting mechanisms for internal components anyway, such as the motor, and various vibration and environmental sensors to guarantee predictable performance and reduce risks. In addition, the new HDDs support PowerChoice technology that helps to manage idle power consumption. The new  PowerBalance tech enables operators of datacenters to balance power consumption and IOPS performance of the hard drives. When compared to the previous-gen Enterprise Capacity HDDa, the new ones support RSA2048-signed firmware with a secure download and diagnostics (SD&D) feature that prevents unauthorized access, modification or installation of a tampered firmware.

The new Enterprise Capacity v7 3.5-inch 12 TB HDD has eight perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) platters, each with a 1.5 TB capacity. This comes with 16 heads, and rotates at 7200 RPM. Cache is listed as 256 MB for each drive. Due to higher areal density and some other optimizations, the new-gen enterprise HDDs have up to a 261 MB/s maximum sustained transfer rate, which is a little bit higher than the helium-filled drives introduced last year. The random write performance of the new drives is also slightly higher when compared to that of their predecessors (it's still worth noting that  400 IOPS is behind that of even entry-level SSDs by orders of magnitude). Moreover, despite the addition of a platter, the maximum operating power of the new Seagate Enterprise Capacity Helium HDDs seems to be similar when compared to that of the first-gen helium hard drives, at around 8 W - 9 W (see the table for details). At the same time, the average idle power consumption of the new HDDs is slightly higher when compared to that of their predecessors.

Comparison of Seagate's Helium-Filled HDDs
  Seagate Enterprise Capacity v6
Seagate Enterprise Capacity v6
Seagate Enterprise Capacity v7
Seagate Enterprise Capacity v7
Capacity 10 TB 12 TB
RPM 7200 RPM
Interface SATA 6 Gbps SAS 12 Gbps SATA 6 Gbps SAS 12 Gbps
DRAM Cache 256 MB
Maximum Sustained Transfer Rate 254 MB/s 261 MB/s
Random Read/Write 4K QD16 WCD 170/370 IOPS 170/400 IOPS
Average Latency 4.16 ms
Rated Workload Equivalent of 550 TB of Writes per Year
Acoustics Idle 28 - 30 dBA unknown
Seek 32 - 34 dBA unknown
Power Rating Idle 4.5 W 5.5 W 5.0 W 5.5 W
Random Write 8.0 W 9.0 W 7.8 W
(50% read/
50% write)
9.3 W
(50% read/
50% write)
Random Read 8.4 W 9.4 W
MTBF 2.5 million hours
Warranty 5 Years
Price ~$490 ~$505 unknown

The family of Seagate’s 12 TB Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDDs includes 12 models with SATA 6 Gb/s or SAS-12 Gb/s interfaces, 4Kn or 512e sectors, self-encrypted drives (SEDs) as well as SED-FIPS HDDs. All of the hard drives are rated for 2.5 million hours MTBF and come with a five-year warranty.

Lineup of Seagate's Enterprise Capacity 3.5" 12 TB Helium HDDs
SATA ST12000NM0047 ST12000NM0007 ST12000NM0057 ST12000NM0017 ST12000NM0157 ST12000NM0137
SAS ST12000NM0067 ST12000NM0027 ST12000NM0077 ST12000NM0037 ST12000NM0167 ST12000NM0147

Seagate is expected to start shipments of its 12 TB HDDs shortly, but pricing is unknown.

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Source: Seagate

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  • Ariknowsbest - Friday, March 17, 2017 - link

    That's 2.5" drives in real compact cased, the ones with a bridge is a little bit longer. In 3.5" it would not make sense to use the same approach
  • takeshi7 - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    Amazon has the 8TB Seagate Ironwolf drive on sale for $270 right now. You're welcome.
  • Guspaz - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    So, after nearly half a decade, that price means storage costs have dropped by a whopping 10%.
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    8TB for $209. It's an HGST built Helium filled drive inside. There's no contest.
  • bigboxes - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    So, if you shuck it you get an 8TB HGST He8 Enterprise drive?
  • piroroadkill - Friday, March 17, 2017 - link

    The exact model number is: WD80EZZX-11CSGA0
    So it has WD written on it, since they own HGST, but it's physically very much an HGST He8. As I mentioned, though, it runs at 5400 RPM as opposed to 7200 RPM, but that's actually good for media storage.
  • darkfalz - Friday, March 17, 2017 - link

    Yeah, 8 and 12 GB PMR consumer drives are long overdue.

    For storage expansion I've mostly been buying 4TB Seagate Backup Plus drives. Sure, it's "only" 4TB but they are small and USB bus powered. No use in a NAS of course but will do for now, and not really any more expensive than the 3.5" equivalent (especially on sale).

    I don't really need a huge NAS but it's nice to have data in one place as well as some redundancy.
  • melgross - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    I imagine that for now, pricing will be closer to $1,000 than to $500. But in a couple of years, fierce the 16 and 20 TB drives are out, this should be under $500, as well as other less expensive 12 TB models from them, and others. It's the way of the world.

    Quite a few years ago, my wife, who was an attorney with Citi Corp, and highly involved with computer operations, was sent down to their main data center in Texas. She described their set-up to me. There were high rows of disk packs that were taken out and replaced by robots. A huge operation. The entire storage for their customer databases was about 10 TB, a very large number at the time.

    Several years later, she said that their operation there was a fraction of the size, and much larger in capacity. Now we can get that on one drive. It's really impressive.
  • bigboxes - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    I took a tour of their SOC and NOC. It's like the bs in the movies, except for real. One of my buddies from class got a job as a VP. He's doing well.
  • HomeworldFound - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    Wow that's amazing, think how many pictures of my dick it can hold!

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