WD / HitachiGST 6TB Hard Drives Available for Purchase

HitachiGST 6TB Hard Drive Amazon
Hitachi 6TB Hard Drive Amazon

One of STH’s sharp forum members, pgh5278, saw that the new Western Digital/ HitachiGST 6TB hard drive is now available for sale to end users. The Hitachi Ultrastar He6 is a major technological breakthrough as a hermetically sealed, helium filled platform that increases densities significantly over previous offerings.

As of 28 January 2014 there are several vendors with small quantities of 6TB drives for sale. Some prices from resellers scoring below 3 stars out of 5 on ResellerRatings.com are in the $600 range. There are several more reputable sellers on Amazon.com selling these drives for $800 each. It is fairly typical for new drive generations to have steep premiums at introduction. This should remain so while WD/ HitachiGST maintains a generational technology advantage.

HitachiGST 6TB Hard Drive Amazon
Hitachi 6TB Hard Drive Amazon

Seagate announced it is shipping 5TB Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) drives in late 2013 but these are still very difficult to acquire. Rumor has it that Seagate should be releasing larger capacity drives in the next quarter or so.

This next generation of hard drives is important. Essentially a company can replace 3x 2TB legacy drives or even 1.5x of the newer 4TB drives with a single 6TB drive. This is the largest generational increment both nominally (2TB) as well as on a percentage basis (50% over 4TB drives) that the market has seen since the 2TB to 3TB generation leap. Fewer drives mean higher reliability in arrays since there are fewer components to fail (you can test this out on the STH RAID Reliability Calculator MTTDL Model.)

Fewer drives also means lower power consumption for a given capacity. That helps increase storage density in racks, as does the simple fact that one can fit more storage on a given number of storage ports.

Overall, this is a great development. 6TB drives are officially here to those beyond early access customers. Prices will come down in the next few months, especially once Seagate enters the market and provides competition for WD/ HitachiGST. If you have $800 to spare, you can be an early adopter of the new capacity drives.

If you want to read a bit more on the Hitachi Helium filled Ultrastar He6 drives you can read the press release here. For a bit more information, here is a video the company posted:


  1. Great find! I ordered a few. I can’t wait to see how they work. If they work well I might be able to consolidate the number of storage servers we use.

    We are port limited (I will not use SAS expanders with SATA) so this could be big savings in our DC.

  2. We (big web company) have been using these for awhile. Great for cold storage.

    I just bought 2 for my new test lab. Good to see they are finally available to everyone.

  3. The reason we see 6TB disks, is because hard disk manufacturers are afraid of SSD evolution. If there were no SSDs, we would still be using 2TB disks, which would be very expensive. We are not yet back at the Thailand floodings low price levels, several years later. The hard disk vendors have a oligopoly. During the Thailand floodings, they shipped more hard disks than ever – so there were no real shortage. And posted huge profits.

    So these 6TB disks are way too late for the party. We should have seen these 6TB disks long time ago, and they should be dirt cheap – if there had been no artifical shortage. Same year as the Thailand floodings, there were four hard disk vendors and competition was fierce with steep price cuts. But the fourth vendor was bought, and competition ceased. And the floodings were taken as an excuse to uphold the prices, they blamed “shortage”. And thanks to SSDs, hard disk vendors are feeling some pressure. Without SSDs, we would all still be in the claws of the hard disk oligopoly. Read the link above, and google some on this.

    So, no, dont be thankful for the 6TB disks, be angry. Why were they not here earlier, and much cheaper??

  4. Seagate’s YOY revenue is down though.

    I think we’re just at a point where breakthroughs in platter density are harder and harder to come by. Using helium to cram in more platters will push HDs a little further down the line. If a platter density increase was ready, they’d do that instead.

  5. I hope this means that current generation drives see a reduction in price, also.

    While I haven’t been reading your site for more than a few months, I have come to very much like it.

    I will say though, that I find the grey text less readable than a plain black. Please consider a higher contrast for those of us with less than perfect vision.

  6. With these kind of capacities don’t you guys think three-way mirrors will become a necessity? Imagine the rebuilding / resilvering time that RAID arrays will require if one of these fails…

  7. > … With these kind of capacities don’t you guys think three-way mirrors will become a necessity? …

    Three-way mirrors have always been a necessity. :). Just my 2 cents.

    John Treble
    Ottawa, Canada


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.