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.

Related Reading:

Source: Seagate

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  • Ahnilated - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    Man, I looked at those IOPS and laughed then I remembered they are spinning discs not memory chips.
  • mapesdhs - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    Hehe, yeah, try pricing up a 12TB Enterprise SSD. ;)
  • dstarr3 - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    I misread the MTBF and Warranty parts of the table and thought that the warranty was 5 million years. I thought "Wow! Okay! I'll buy that!"
  • Guspaz - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    And I'm just sitting here waiting for affordable 8TB non-shingled drives. Seriously, hard drive storage costs have not changed at all in the past 4 years. I bought a bunch of HGST 4TB drives in 2013 for around $150 a pop, and an 8TB in 2017 still costs ~$300...
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    You basically have to buy the new 8TB WD My Book externals and carefully take the drives out, they're without a doubt HGST Helium filled enterprise drives in a case sold at a huge loss (although running at slower spindle speed). Buying bare 8TB drives is terrible value in comparison.
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    Well, sorry, I shouldn't say "huge loss", just that they're clearly being sold with wafer thin margins compared to the bare drives.
  • melgross - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    Assuming the prices are really good, and adding significantly to the manufacturing output, those drive sales are lowering the cost to produce the drives, and so serve a real purpose.
  • BrokenCrayons - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    Aren't most external drives outfitted with non-standard connectors that prevent people from doing that sort of thing? I haven't torn apart a My Book, but I've bumped into a number of other products that include SATA to USB bridge hardware on the drive's PCB.
  • jjjacer - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    most external drives have a separate board for the usb to sata bridge, this allows them to use the same case and bridge and then just change the drive for the different sizes, thats why if a external drive fails just take it apart and pull the drive out and hook it directly to the computer to see as it can sometimes just be the usb sata bridge that fails. is best picture i could find that shows this, you see the drive with a normal sata connector connecting to a small board that then connects to USB
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    I've done this myself. I know for a fact it works.

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