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Seagate Unveils Its Third Generation SSHDs

By - Source: Seagate Newsroom | B 25 comments

The company's new lineup of SSHDs aims to "deliver blazing-fast performance and high-capacity at an affordable price".

Seagate has announced that it has begun shipping its latest generation of Solid State Hard Drives (SSHDs) which are effectively "hybrid drives" since they combine a mechanical hard drive with NAND memory for increased performance. Notable products in the company's 3rd generation of SSHDs include a new 7 mm thin SSHD designed for ultra thin laptops and Seagate's first ever desktop SSHD.

Both versions are advertised as providing SSD-esque performance at a fraction of the cost of a dedicated Solid State Drive, more specifically the laptop SSHD is five times faster than a standard 5400 RPM notebook drive and will improve overall system performance by 30 to 40 percent, according to PC Mark Vantage tests. Similarly the desktop variant will provide four times the performance of a 7200 RPM mechanical HDD and provide a boot time that can be measured in seconds rather than minutes.

Seagate's laptop drives will be available with a maximum capacity of 500 GB and 1 TB for the 7 mm "ultra thin" and normal SSHDs respectively and the desktop version will have a maximum capacity of 2 TB paired with 8 GB of NAND memory.

“Seagate’s engineers have really out done themselves this time. Our new SSHDs serve up your favorite content with the lightning-fast performance you have to experience to believe. With these new drives it’s like adding a turbo-charge to your PC, without having to sacrifice capacity, at a price that’s easy on your wallet,” said Scott Horn, Seagate’s vice president of marketing. “Now consumers can create, store and consume digital content like a pro without having to spend like one.

For more information on Seagate's 3rd Generation SSHDs, visit the relevant product page on Seagate's website.


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  • 7 Hide
    dimar , March 8, 2013 12:46 PM
    I was hoping that since Seagate decreased the RPMs on the new drives, SSD size would increase. And what about the warranty??
  • 7 Hide
    aerofly , March 8, 2013 12:48 PM
    Can these be RAIDed or would that mess up its cacheing? Wouldnt mind a few of the desktop versions in a RAID 5 configuration.
  • Display all 25 comments.
  • 3 Hide
    CaedenV , March 8, 2013 12:57 PM
    I think I feel the same about these as I do about Hybrid cars; They are needed to transition to the new tech, but in the transition you end up with an overly complicated product that, while better, is rarely better enough to justify the extra cost of the system. It is still much cheaper than a 1-2TB SSD, but most applications that need that kind of space will not benefit from 8GB of flash in the first place, and if you are just looking at an ultra fast boot drive and need a lot of storage then you are still better off getting a SSD+HDD rather than a SSHD.

    The obvious exception to this (and the main market for this) is computers with only 1 drive space such as macs or laptops. But even in those cases you would still probably be better off with a SSD and external USB3 HDD.
  • 8 Hide
    CrArC , March 8, 2013 1:21 PM
    I can't see how 8GB of cache is anywhere near enough to be useful.

    Perhaps 32GB would suffice. 64GB would be acceptable I think, enough to cache most regularly accessed data (OS, software, etc).

    I honestly think it would be better to invest in one of those "SSD cache" drives designed to supplement normal HDDs than to bother with these SSHDs. Much more cache for your money.
  • 0 Hide
    RealBeast , March 8, 2013 1:35 PM
    I agree with CaedenV that these are a step in a long transition and in a few years you'll wonder why you bought this thing. The problem now is that a really useful amount of cache costs too much cash.
  • 2 Hide
    usertests , March 8, 2013 2:01 PM
    I'd like to see the square root of capacity or better in cache.

    So 32 GB for 1 TB. 32-64 GB for 2 TB. 64 GB for 4 TB. 128 GB for 10-16 TB, etc.
  • 6 Hide
    Pherule , March 8, 2013 2:29 PM
    Hybrid drive? Yes please.
    8GB? Yeah.. no. We'll try again next year. Or not. Time for full-blown SSD I think.

    8GB is pathetic Seagate, and you're pathetic for even considering going so low.
  • 0 Hide
    nordlead , March 8, 2013 3:11 PM
    ram1009This whole concept is a waste of time and money, IMHO The extra speed of a SSD is only noticeable upon boot up or program launch. If you're a gamer, levels load a little faster. After a few days using one you don't notice the difference at all. The real benefit of a SSD is reliability. No moving parts. That speaks for itself. These "hybrid" drives are no more reliable than any other mechanical HDD and therefore are no use to anyone. Save your money and get a real SSD.

    I would agree if we are talking desktops since you can toss in a SSD and a HDD, but these are actually a decent solution for someone on a laptop that needs a lot of storage, but also wants fast boots (a college student would be a perfect example).

    I wouldn't put one of these in a desktop though, since once the HDD portion dies, the SSD portion is wasted. Two separate drives and you can replace each part individually.
  • 4 Hide
    nleksan , March 8, 2013 3:24 PM
    Seagate is going to get demolished if WD comes to market with what they claim to be cooking up (500GB and 1TB Ultra-Slim 2.5" 7200RPM HDD's with 24GB SLC NAND Each)...

    Considering how much of a premium Seagate charges for its SSHD's, we really should be seeing something more than this. 2TB with a pathetic 8GB NAND? Really? Chances are it'll cost at least double the current market price of the (admittedly very fast) 2TB Barracuda, while providing only minimal improvements as constrained by its small NAND Cache!
    One thing I love about the Momentus XT drives, is that they are phenomenal in RAID arrays (RAID0, RAID6, RAID10) as the 8GB NAND "stacks" and eventually becomes PLENTY for the amount of spinny-space given. I just don't see that happening with 2TB of platter storage without an increase in NAND.

    Been running 8x Momentus XT 750GB/8GB SSHD's in RAID0 off an Adaptec PCI-E3.0 24i-4e RAID Controller (4GB DDR3-1333 cache, CacheVault) for a year now, as my "fun"/"let's see how fast it'll go" RAID0 array.
    Home Server case is a Lian Li D8000 double-wide, and thanks to the small form-factor of the Momentus XT drives, I simply added a pair of 4-in-3 Bay Adapters with 120mm fans blowing across the drives. Stuck in 8x 1x3.5-to-2x2.5 adapters to give them room to breathe (a few share space with some SSD's), and no problems!
    Total Capacity: 6TB Mechanical + 64GB SLC NAND

    Sequential READ: 637-661MB/sec
    Sequential WRITE: 656-683MB/sec
    BURST SPEEDS: >5GB/sec when the file is entirely cached!

    Overall, it's not as fast as another 8-drive array I have, this one of 1TB VelociRaptors in RAID0, all short-stroked to 333GB/ea, with a 64GB Intel SLC NAND Cache Drive, but it's only lagging about 20% behind; however, the XT array simply cannot even come close to touching the VR's in Random R/W performance, with the VR array literally pushing 10-15x the IOPS.

    I don't use any SAS drives (well, not any 15krpm ones) in my home servers, as I already saturate all my ethernet bandwidth (and that's with an Intel Hardware Dual-gigabit NIC + 2x onboard Intel NIC's per server; all desktops have at least 2 onboard Intel NIC's, 2 have PCI-E hardware NIC's).

    At this point, if WD doesn't come through with REAL Hybrid Drives, I am just going to turn to RAID for PURE STORAGE, running RAID6+HS arrays in my 2 media servers, my file server, and my local shared server (leave my Games servers running RAID0). Instead, I'll just grab an OCZ R4 or equivalent PCI-E SSD, which takes up so much less space yet is an order of magnitude faster (at the minimum)!
  • 3 Hide
    SinisterSalad , March 8, 2013 5:19 PM
    These drives aren't meant for power users like a lot of us around here claim to be. If you have just an everyday user, these drives are great. For a while, I had the 1st gen 500/4GB drive in my rig before I went full SSD. The 4GB was enough cache for booting and loading my commonly used programs. It was only once I started playing BF3 and their larger maps when I noticed that the cache was no longer adequate. I'm sure the 8GB versions are large enough to accommodate most everyday user's needs. These drives are a perfect solution to those people. They get the speed of SSD for everyday use without having to shell out a ton for storage capacity. Sure, you can get a 64GB SSD for a boot drive, and conventional HDD for storage, but good luck getting those everyday folks to get use to remembering to not save everything on the default C: locations.

    As a builder of systems to a lot of non-techy folks, I love these drives as a solution.
  • 0 Hide
    dalethepcman , March 8, 2013 5:47 PM
    Until a HDD manufacturer makes a something like a JBOD configuration with the SSD first and HDD second, allows the HDD to be parked most of the time, and increased the SSD portion to 64gb, I will stick to just SSD in laptops and dual drives in desktops.
  • 0 Hide
    murzar , March 8, 2013 6:04 PM
    8GB is low. But not very far off either for the purpose.
  • 0 Hide
    alkhrt , March 8, 2013 6:12 PM
    I can see a place for this technology in a laptop or other ultra portable device. I still think we're getting screwed by the industry on the costs. Most of the SSD vendors are also HD vendors. They've obviously got a lot invested in the HD side of the business. There's a lot that goes into a HD - enclosure, platter, head, motors to spin the platter and move the head, electronics to control that, cache and all of the other electronics. It looks like a no brainer to just stamp a bunch of FLASH and some companion electronics, solder it to a board and ship it.
  • 0 Hide
    cjl , March 8, 2013 7:42 PM
    PheruleHybrid drive? Yes please.8GB? Yeah.. no. We'll try again next year. Or not. Time for full-blown SSD I think.8GB is pathetic Seagate, and you're pathetic for even considering going so low.

    Why not judge it based on performance, rather than based on how much flash you think they should have included? They don't need to cache an entire program - if most of the program can be loaded with a sequential read, you might as well service that operation from disk and just load the small random files from cache. These work very differently from a manual (or even a software-based) solution using a separate HDD and SSD.
  • 0 Hide
    hannibal , March 8, 2013 7:58 PM
    It is price vs performance matter. If 500 Gb HD with 8Gb SSD cache will cost 50$ and 500 Gb HD with 32 GB SSD cache will cost 150$ I think that the first one is more popular...
    If there is not very big difference in the speed.

    I was sure that In this year we would see hybrid drives with much larger ssd cache, but I seems to be wery wrong in that. The reason I can only gues, but I have two possible explanations. 8Gb is the sweet spot. It gives enough boost to system boot up time and does not cost too much. Or the price of hybrid would be too close to real SSD with much bigger SSD cache... I would like to know the truth in here...
  • 0 Hide
    danwat1234 , March 8, 2013 8:42 PM
    If you aren't going to go beyond 8GB of NAND flash and not enable write caching, at least keep the 7200RPM speed so performance never gets too bad. I think most people will go for the 2nd gen drive; 750GB with 2 platters, 7200RPM, 8GB SLC
  • 0 Hide
    bloc97 , March 9, 2013 2:07 AM
    I would like a lot to see bigger Hybrid drives coming out, like 1.5TB, 2TB or more, since the point of them is having the speed of SSD's while having great capacity like HDD's...
  • 1 Hide
    s3anister , March 9, 2013 4:04 AM
    cjlWhy not judge it based on performance, rather than based on how much flash you think they should have included? They don't need to cache an entire program - if most of the program can be loaded with a sequential read, you might as well service that operation from disk and just load the small random files from cache. These work very differently from a manual (or even a software-based) solution using a separate HDD and SSD.

    You have a very valid point and while I agree with the fact that implementation is key to making a lesser amount of NAND perform well with the rotational media you can't argue against 8GB being too small. These drives would be able to cache a lot more of Windows/OSX/Linux in addition to the key files in many more programs if they came with NAND somewhere in the range of 24-32GB. With that much NAND vs. 8GB (a pen-drive amount of flash IMO) I can't help but feel that the hybrid drives would feel and perform like a real SSD except with storage for video/audio files and so on.
  • -1 Hide
    JackNaylorPE , March 9, 2013 2:44 PM
    I don't think I have ever seen a series of posts with this much anecdotal nonsense. The proof is in the testing and, having done extensive testing on same, I can tell you that without benchmarks, you can not tell the difference between a Momentus and a SSD w/ Hard Drive.

    Last year, I used a THG Tier 1 SSD (128 GB Mushkin Chronos Deluxe) and one of the fastest HD's on the market (2 Gb Barracuda XT) and compared it with the 2nd Generation 750GB Momentus.

    Having various users sit down and load AutoCAD 13, Adobe, Open Office, etc ...... none could tell the difference between two machines (Same CPU, MoBo, Memory) with the only difference being the storage subsystem. There were some slight differences in load times for the SSD / HD over the hybrid but you needed a stop watch to measure them. Here's some results:

    Hybrid Booted windows in 17 seconds
    SSD / HD Combo booted in 16 seconds

    Hybrid loaded MMO in 45.5 seconds
    SSD / HD loaded MMO in 45.5 seconds
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