MPG has previously reviewed capacious hard drives for performance:
- 4/5/6TB Hard Drives: Higher Capacity Boosts Real-World Performance
- HGST Deskstar 6TB NAS Hard Drive
- Toshiba 4TB MG03ACA400 vs 3TB DT01ACA300: Is Cheaper Faster?
The HGST Ultrastar He8 is filled with helium and is a sealed drive:
The less dense atmosphere inside a HelioSeal HDD virtually eliminates turbulence, allowing read/write mechanisms to track more precisely and reliably over storage media, enabling higher recording densities.
Less internal turbulence also makes it possible to add more disks and heads to achieve even higher capacity per HDD. This is how HGST delivers industry-leading 8TB capacity and beyond in a seven-disk design.
Disks spin more easily in a helium-filled environment, resulting in less power usage—even with additional platters. Less power consumption means cooler operation and lower cooling requirements, reducing both energy costs and carbon footprint. Many air-filled drives use a breather filter leading to reliability problems when used in environments with high levels of carbon in the air. This problem does not exist with sealed drives.
At about $599, the HGST 8TB Ultrastar He8 enterprise-grade drive is not for everyone (OWC has also has some factory reconditioned ones at $475). But at some point for photographers and videographers, storage capacity pushes up against limits, and capacity has to be increased.
At present, a key primary volume of my photographic master images now approaches its 5TB capacity in my photography work, so it is now time to move to larger drives. After testing these 8TB HGST He8 drives, they will be put into my “production” use as three 8TB RAID-5 volumes (partitions); see RAID-5 / RAID-4 Can be Partitioned to Suit. Essentially, this will be a 32TB OWC Thunderbay 4 RAID-5 edition.
I like the fact that the HGST 8TB Ultrastar He8 consums only 5.1 watts when idle (HGST specs says 60% more power efficient per GB as compared to the 4TB Ultrastar 7K4000). So four of them in a RAID-5 will consume only ~20 watts while idle. Not bad for 32TB of storage (24TB usable in RAID-5 mode)!
Note that OWC has a 90-day replacement warranty, meaning that a problem drive will be replaced with a NEW drive within 90 days. This is a BIG DEAL if you are making a RAID or depending on the drives; sending a drive in for warranty essentially means another one has to be purchased to fill the hole—not so with this OWC 90-day guarantee.
When purchased as part of an OWC Thunderbay 4 RAID-5 edition, another level of support comes into play—MPG suggests buying a complete solution for that reason (e.g. don’t try to build your own with high-end drives like these).
Details on HGST 8TB Ultrastar He8 Hard Drive
Industry-leading capacity — 8TB capacity and 23% lower energy consumption. That's the power of helium. Meet Ultrastar He8, HGST's second-generation hard drive based on the widely accepted and proven HelioSeal™ platform. With 8TB of capacity, Ultrastar He8 goes beyond what any other HDD can do using air and raises the standard for capacity and power efficiency in cloud and hyperscale data center environments.
Industry-leading quality — Data centers face growing pressures. Volume is expanding, Operating costs are rising while budgets remain flat. Lowering the total cost of ownership (TCO) has become the focus of data center architects. Through HGST's patented HelioSeal process, the Ultrastar He8 features the industry's highest capacity of 8.0TB; a low idle of 5.1 watts; a reduced weight of 650g; and a temperature that runs 4-5°C cooler than other drives in its class.
Industry-leading reliability — Cooler and quieter with industry-leading power efficiency (Watts/TB), the Ultrastar He8 lays the foundation for future growth in massive scale-out environments.