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HGST Ultrastar He6 6TB Helium Enterprise HDD Review

By: Paul Alcorn | HDDs in IT/Datacenter | Posted: Mar 30, 2014 8:59 pm
TweakTown Rating: 95%Manufacturer: HGST

HGST Ultrastar He6 Internals




The HGST Ultrastar He6 comes in the typical 3.5-inch form factor. A distinguishing feature is the lack of components and fasteners on the top of the drive. There is a small round protrusion on the bottom left under the sticker; the rest of the surface of the drive is flat. The drive is noticeably lighter due to reduced components and the lack of fasteners.




Upon removal of the PCB, we immediately note thick pins protruding from the bottom of the case. These pins mate with the PCB to provide communication with the drive. These pins are a departure from any other current HDD design. Most designs use flat pins that connect to the bottom of the PCB.




The plastic outcropping to the upper left of the PCB mates with the pins on the base of the drive. The NANYA 64-bit DRAM cache chip resides to the right, and the SMOOTH drive motor controller occupies the lower left of the PCB. There are accelerometers on the upper right and lower left, and the typical drive-motor power connections are in the middle of the lower edge of the PCB.


We peeled the sticker back to find the source of the protrusion. This sealed opening is where HGST injects helium during the last manufacturing steps. Each drive requires less helium than a typical child's balloon. If helium escapes, it will travel to the top of the room. Helium is harmless in low concentrations and is used instead of nitrogen for breathing during deep-sea diving.




The LSI TNNGG6282 controller powers the device. There is a thermal pad to transfer heat from the controller into the body of the drive, and a thick foam pad is placed between the drive housing and the PCB to reduce vibration. Limited sample availability forced us to refrain from pulling the drive apart for pictures of the new platter architecture. The graphic above does a nice job of highlighting the enhanced platter density.




We tested idle power and measured the He6 at 7watts and 5.3-5.4 watts during sleep intervals. The HGST 7K4000 has a much higher average idle power draw, but this is typical for the 7,200RPM segment.



HGST Ultrastar He6 Specifications


The HGST Ultrastar He6 utilizes Thermal Fly-height Control (TFC) to maintain performance in high-vibration environments and multi-drive deployments. The He6 is rated for 600,000 load/unload cycles and a yearly workload of 550TB. The drive features adaptive error correction and optional Bulk Data Encryption for SATA models and TCG Enterprise A for SAS models. The SAS model has a broader range of sector sizes and incrementally higher power consumption.



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