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Could gas shortage pop WD's helium drive plans?

Lucas Mearian | Oct. 2, 2012
With worldwide demand and prices at an all-time high, Western Digital's plans to use helium in its drives may be ill-timed as the world's reserves are quickly drawing down.

HGST has not disclosed how many helium-filled drives it plans to produce per years, however, it did say the hermetically sealed drives will be a whole new "platform," meaning there will be numerous products being developed.

In the fourth quarter of this year, Western Digital shipped 71 million drives. Using a far-smaller number -- taking into consideration the helium-filled drives are a new product -- Garvey performed some initial calculations based on 500,000 drive shipments per year. Her conclusion was that consumption level is less than 1 million cubit feet per year, "a minor blip when you consider we produce 6.2 [billion cubic feet per year.]"



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