Toshiba 14TB Helium-Filled Hard Drives Allegedly Arriving ‘Very Soon’

Toshiba is apparently getting ready to release a 14-terabyte capacity hard drive model. So say company representatives at the Huawei Connect conference in Shanghai, China, who indicated that 14TB helium-filled HDDs would hit the marketplace "very soon." When pressed for clarification on how soon they were talking about, the representatives said the large capacity HDDs would arrive by the end of 2017.

Hard Drive

The largest capacity HDD currently available is 12TB—both Seagate and Western Digital's HGST division offer 12TB models aimed at the enterprise market. These are single drive solutions and they are also filled with helium. Should Toshiba meet is goal of releasing a 14TB HDD by the end of the year, it will take hold of the capacity crown, though it may not get to keep it for very long.

Looking down the road, Seagate is planning to release a 16TB HDD sometime in 2018, and a whopping 20TB HDD by 2020, the company announced back in January. Seagate also has a 14TB model in the works that is likely to launch within the first half of next year.

As for Toshiba, the jump to 14TB is a big leap for the company. Currently its most capacious model is an 8TB N300 model built for network attached storage (NAS) devices. It has a SATA 6Gbps interface, 7,200 RPM rotational speed, and 128MB of cache. The drive has a 240MB/s sustained data transfer speed.

Not only with the upcoming 14TB drive be Toshiba's largest capacity to date, it will also be the company's first helium-filled hard drive. Toshiba is a tad late to the party in this regard—competitors have been using helium in select model HDDs for several years now. Helium gas has the appeal of significantly lowering internal friction, as it is less dense than air. The lightweight gas also paves the way for faster speeds and increased storage density.