Guest Phil

Seagate: "Hybrid Drives Will Outlive Solid-State Drives"

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Guest Phil
Hybrid Drives Will Outlive Solid-State Drives - Seagate.

Seagate: SSDs Has Negligible Market Share and Dark Prospects

Seagate, one of the world's largest maker of hard disk drives, said that solid-state drives (SSDs) will be survived by hybrid drives that feature both flash memory and traditional magnetic media. Moreover, according to Seagate, only a fraction of expensive computers feature SSDs.

"I would say though that from what we know of the offering for example Apple, the percentage of their units that they sell with SSDs versus HDDs is a tiny fraction. I think it’s under 3%, certainly under 5%. [...] I think as Seagate introduced hybrid drive last quarter, you get basically the features and function of SSD at more like disc drive cost and capacity," said Steven Luczo, chief executive officer of Seagate, during a conference call with financial analysts.

It is obvious that SSDs are more expensive and less capacious compared to hard disk drives (HDDs), but it is also clear that solid-state drives are more reliable and offer higher performance than traditional hard drives. Seagate offers so-called hybrid drives that feature both traditional rotating media as well as flash memory. The company believes that such drives combine the cost of HDDs with performance of SSDs.

Seagate Momentus XT 2.5” hybrid hard drive feature 250GB, 320GB or 500GB capacities, 4GB of flash memory, 32MB DRAM cache as well as 7200rpm spindle speed. Seagate declares 4.17ms average latency, 11ms random read seek time, 13ms random write speed time and 300MB/s I/O data transfer rate. The Momentus XT drive features Adaptive Memory – a new technology from Seagate that learns and optimizes the drive’s performance to each user by moving frequently used information into the flash memory for faster access.

The manufacturer does admit that solid-state drives (SSDs) still have a lot of benefits for enterprise personal computers. But considering their cost per gigabyte, clients are likely to prefer traditional hard drives with increased performance to SSDs.

Hybrid Drives Will Outlive Solid-State Drives - Seagate - X-bit labs

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I love the Momentus XT, but I love SSDs more ;)

Really though, as silly as this might sound to some, I think the comments reflect some degree of reality if we think of SSDs as a giant cache for larger, slower HDDs. Much like the XT, just think of a drive that has a 256GB SSD cache on top of a 8TB disk. That could be compelling and with a cache that large, you get around a lot of the limitations the 4GB XT cache has now. Long term, Seagate could be right, especially if the NAND cost stays comparatively high,

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Guest Phil

So did they mean hybrids will have a longer physical life than SSDs or did they mean hybrids as a product will last longer than SSDs?

I would think the former as I can't believe the latter.

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I'm not entirely sure, but I think they mean in terms of client use, SSDs generally aren't practical and won't be for a very long time, or if ever, if Seagate has their way. I think they're more arguing that the hybrid solution is the wave of the future.

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Makes a lot of sense. Ever since the mid 386 era, we've had cache RAM as well as system RAM. If CPU-speed RAM had ever got to the same price/MB as SDRAM/DDR/etc RAM, we'd be using that for everything, but it's never happened. If SSD price/GB remains higher than HDD price/GB, a hybrid is just following exactly the same pattern as RAM has for decades.

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I'm not entirely sure, but I think they mean in terms of client use, SSDs generally aren't practical and won't be for a very long time, or if ever, if Seagate has their way. I think they're more arguing that the hybrid solution is the wave of the future.

That's my take, and I think they will be proven wrong. Remember how Balmer dissed the iPhone> look at it now :D. same likely happen with the iPad, though some think interest will wane because the tablets can't completely replace the laptop/netbooks with more robust OS's. Come back in another 2yrs and let us take a look at how Seagate is doing, as well as the rest of the HDD makers.

MacBook Air could foretell death of hard drives

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9192359/MacBook_Air_could_foretell_death_of_hard_drives

^read what that analysts are saying about Seagate's prospects if NAND drops in 1/2 within a year (and then 1/2 again each year after that...ya got 4TB for $20 HDD, ya got 1TB (SSD) for say $150-200 but 10x as fast/better...who is going to buy what?).

Edited by udaman

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But NAND isn't dropping that fast and with high demand there's little reason to think it will. I hope it does, but really, doesn't seem likely right now. Which is what Seagate is banking on...

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ya got 4TB for $20 HDD, ya got 1TB (SSD) for say $150-200 but 10x as fast/better...who is going to buy what?).

Most people will buy what's cheap, as they always have done. Back when SCSI devices were much faster than IDE and used 10% of the CPU, what did 99% of PC users buy? IDE. Macs, however, have generally had SCSI built in. Apple users in general are prepared to pay a fortune for an Apple. (iPhone 4 is estimated to cost $US187.50 to make, but sells for 4-6 times that.) I'd wait to see whether Apple's predictions for their own market have any relevance to the wider market.

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