WD Begins Shipping of 18TB Hard Drives

The Western Digital Ultrastar DC HC550 range consists of two hard disk drives, with capacities of 16TB and 18TB respectively.

The hard drive giant’s new drives are based on the 6th generation HelioSeal platform, and feature triple-stage actuators (TSA), and energy-assisted magnetic recording (EAMR) technology. Equipped with nine platters and a standard 7200 RPM motor, WD’s new range of high capacity hard drives are aimed at data centres rather than consumers. The two HDDs are the first to use EAMR technology, which pushes areal density to 1022 Gbits/in2, and the first to develop a triple-stage actuator onto a 9-disk platform. WD’s TSA technology results in greater head precision accuracy, allowing tracks to be written closer together, resulting in higher capacity drives; each platter can store 2TB of data.

This new hard disk drive technology was originally unveiled back in October 2017, with the hard drive giant also boasting that they will be manufacturing hard drives with capacities of 40TB by 2025.

The HC550 range utilises HelioSeal technology, which has allowed WD to manufacture drives with unprecedented storage capacities. When a hard drive is filled with helium, turbulence is reduced, which makes it easier for the read/write heads to work properly. Helium also allows more platters to be packed into a single hard drive – nine, in the case of WD’s latest model. According to WD, this results in a significantly lower mean time before failure (MTBF) for the Ultrastar DC HC550 range, in comparison with air-filled drives.

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