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Seagate Continues Bet on Hybrid HDDs With Flash Cache

The company indicated that it will be following this path in the foreseeable time as a strategy to leverage fast flash memory in mass storage media while maintaining the low cost level of hard drive technology.

Seagate said that its XT drives have been shipping to Alienware, Asus, Dell, Sony and Toshiba. The 7200 RPM models integrate 4 GB of flash memory and are available with capacities of up to 500 GB. They promise up to 50 percent faster boot ups than traditional 5400 RPM drives.

Seagate stated that high-performance SSDs are still not an alternative for hard drives in mainstream mass storage as "they cost as much as 10 times more than hard disk drives of the same capacity, with the price of a 250 GB SSD outstripping even the cost of many laptop PCs." According to the manufacturer, consumers are not willing to pay or simply cannot afford the higher price of the SSD. Of course, Seagate has a significant interest in the hard drive keeping its price/capacity advantage over flash as the hard drive and the technology enabling it is the company's bread and butter.

  • jacobdrj
    All true comments by Seagate. However, they have to include a 'teeny weeeny' bit more than 4GB of Solid State Flash memory for this to make sense.

    But in 24 GB worth of Flash Cache with a controller that is fast and that can distinguish data files from the OS and regularly used applications. The flash should act as nothing more than a CACHE, and during idle, all information on the flash needs to be 'backed up' on the mechanical HDD, so that even if the flash component fails, the HDD should still run.
    Reply
  • pocketdrummer
    At least one company realized that SSDs are far too expensive and have far too little storage capacity.

    We need ~500GB SSDs with a cost per gig that isn't leaps and bounds above HDDs. Considering I'm already filling 1 TB of my 2 TBs mostly with programs and games, even 500GB is too small.

    If they get the cost down, they'll sell more units. If they sell more units, they'll have more money to invest in R&D to make them larger and faster and increase MTBF.
    Reply
  • spookyman
    You see a lot Seagate drives used in servers.
    Reply
  • warmon6
    jacobdrjAll true comments by Seagate. However, they have to include a 'teeny weeeny' bit more than 4GB of Solid State Flash memory for this to make sense.But in 24 GB worth of Flash Cache with a controller that is fast and that can distinguish data files from the OS and regularly used applications. The flash should act as nothing more than a CACHE, and during idle, all information on the flash needs to be 'backed up' on the mechanical HDD, so that even if the flash component fails, the HDD should still run.
    here the issue with what your saying.....

    1. your right that it should only be used as cache(which seagate been doing since it launched these drives). problem with what your saying is, anything on the cache "needs to be backed up".

    You need to read more about this drive. The drive reads what's most commonly used, (such as opening a certain app every day or most needed services for the OS to run) and stores the file on the cache from the hdd. Now it's still on the HDD. It never left, just copied into a faster place, so what is there to back up?

    2. as for having 24GB's of cache..... why such an odd number? i'd more prefer the traditional numbering scheme of 2,4,8,16,32,64, ect.... make sense to me as computers love multiples of two's.

    3. the reason why we wont see over 16GB hybrid drives yet is due to price.

    500GB hybrid drive: $100 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148591

    16 to 32GB ssd: $50 to $60
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820139428
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227510

    so even if you take out some of the cost of having the 4Gb's in there and put in 16 or 32GB of flash memory in these drives, your talking about a drive that can be in the neighborhood of $125 to possibly more than $150.

    Kinda defeats what the drive is targeting for.


    now i could see in the near future 8GB hybrid drives from seagate, but nothing bigger than that in the near future.
    Reply
  • mrkdilkington
    Can’t help but getting the feeling that these hybrids will just drag on the feet of SSD’s mainstream market dominance. Similar to how LED LCD’s are being milked instead of manufacturers switching to superior OLED’s, but obviously not as extreme as that case.
    Reply
  • amdwilliam1985
    I think the posters above me are missing the point of SSD.
    I think SSD is not the replacement of HDD(at least not now), it is a complement of HDD in many cases.
    I'm only interest in about 100GB of SSD, that should be more than enough to keep all my current stuff, everything else can be save to my data drive(HDD) or an external drive.

    Have you guys ever used SSD? Just for reference, my new MBA boots up in 15 seconds and shuts down in 1 second :)
    Reply
  • drwho1
    Seagate said that its XT drives have been shipping to Alienware, Asus, Dell, Sony and Toshiba. The 7200 RPM models integrate 4 GB of flash memory and are available with capacities of up to 500 GB. They promise up to 50 percent faster boot ups than traditional 5400 RPM drives.

    Seriously?
    This must be a mistake given that nobody uses a 5400 RPM drive as a boot drive (unless we are talking notebooks here) which I don't think is the case.

    So what I like to know is what advantage if any would be between this drive a normal 7200 RPM drive?
    Reply
  • pdfsmail
    If I need portable computing, I will use a laptop with a standard drive...
    When it comes to using some power.. I will go to my desktop, and I will use several regular hard drives in RAID before buying one of these.. at least until they are more cost efficient. I like the Idea but it costs too much as most newer technologies do.
    Reply
  • Pawessum16
    I'd be interested in one of these drives if the cache was upgraded to 8gb or 16gb. They've been out long enough now that I would hope to see an update soon in the product lineup. My laptop's 5400 rpm drive can really piss me off at times with its sluggishness, and a 7200 rpm drive doesn't seem like a worthwhile enough performance upgrade for the money, while SSD's are just too spendy for me.
    Reply
  • jacobdrj
    pocketdrummerAt least one company realized that SSDs are far too expensive and have far too little storage capacity.We need ~500GB SSDs with a cost per gig that isn't leaps and bounds above HDDs. Considering I'm already filling 1 TB of my 2 TBs mostly with programs and games, even 500GB is too small.If they get the cost down, they'll sell more units. If they sell more units, they'll have more money to invest in R&D to make them larger and faster and increase MTBF.
    You don't buy a SSD to 'hold stuff' you buy an SSD to RUN stuff. You buy it for the same reason you buy a Corvette. Speed. And unlike a Corvette on the freeway you get what you pay for, because you have no 'speed limit' for your computer, you can max out the speed (bandwidth) of the SSD to your heart's content, and increase your productivity too...


    Reply