Last November, HGST had began shipping its helium-filled 6TB HDDs. A major benefit of helium is that it reduces power consumption by about 23%, bringing overall operating temperatures down by up to 4°C. Also, a helium-filled 3.5-inch drive is able to house two additional platters, bumping storage capacity by an additional 50%, from a [current] possible maximum capacity of 4TB to 6TB.
In response, Toshiba announced non-helium 5TB hard disk drives last month. Although they offer less storage space, they are presently the largest capacity non-helium HDDs in the market.
Of course, with such advantages, one would expect a helium-filled drive to cost more than a non-helium version of the same capacity. However, the price of a helium-filled 6TB drive has been revealed, and we found out that the price difference is way more substantial than what we had anticipated:-
Amazon.com is selling one such model for a whopping US$724.88, with free shipping. This translates to almost US$0.12/GB, or S$0.15/GB. In comparison, Seagate's highest capacity HDD, the Desktop HDD 4TB, is retailing at US$156.95, about US$0.04/GB, or S$0.05/GB.
With the helium model commanding a good three times the price per gigabyte, Western Digital's wholly owned subsidiary, HGST, is now the lone hard disk drive maker in the market to produce helium-filled HDDs. Fortunately, the 6TB helium drive is still far cheaper than a typical SSD that is currently averaging close to a S$1/GB.
The other two major competitors, Seagate, who acquired Xyratex, a hard disk testing company; and Toshiba, who purchased OCZ Technology last December, have not shown interest in helium technology (yet). On a side note, Seagate has announced plans to churn out 20TB hard drives by 2020.