Opening the helium hard drive - Video

Data recovery on helium-filled hard drives may be our reality in the future, according to some data recovery experts. The reasons for putting the helium inside the drive are numerous: heat reduction, increased platter density and speed, reduced waste of energy, increased number of platters from five to seven with more storage, less noise and so on...


HddSurgery had an opportunity to open HGST HUS726060ALA640 helium-filled hard drive and take a peek inside the drive, in order to become more familiar with its mechanic structure and the way of functioning. We decided to record the whole opening process and edit it as one short video presentation, in order to provide the best feel for the viewers.


We managed to find the solution for cutting the laser welded lid and to reach the inside of the drive itself. We used improvised methods and tools and they should not be considered as a manual for opening.


Take a look how we did this and what does the drive looks like inside in our video below.




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Miloš Gizdovski
Marketing Manager at HddSurgery


Moral of the story: Don't use the biggest/most expensive helium drives unless the data you put on them is disposable. When it fails the data is probably gone forever if you were foolish and didn't have tape backups. Helium leaks over time anyway, laser sealed or not (it diffuses directly through the metal cases and covers. I still have 20-25yo drives that only quit being used because of capacity issues (ie 20-80gb Maxtors that originally cost $300 each), but still technically work. I doubt the same will be said for anything Helium-filled, why I'll never use them and just make do with 4TB drives that will probably last until the magnetic servo tracks decay if powered down most of the time (probably around 30-50 years, given spec'd LTO tape life ratings). If it gets to the point where I need more than 2500 HDD's (10PB+) of data storage then I either need to find a new hobby, new business model, better compression, etc that doesn't require as much storage, not start relying on less reliable tech.


@tyr It may work for some time, but it carries the risk because of the increased temperature.


Does an helium hdd drive still work if it's filled with air ? Does it run slower or it just simply not work ?


Well done Nikola ! .... Hats Off ! The adventure continues :)


Oh but those drives will never fail ;-) ........... AND there is no Murphy, and the earth is both flat and soft.

JensT - DK