Seagate gained a bad reputation for disk failures over the last few years, but the failures weren't entirely Seagate's fault. For many years large retailers shipped drives in substandard packaging. It was common to wrap a drive with bubble wrap and toss it into an oversized box. A large and vocal web hosting company also removed commodity desktop drives from external enclosures and used them in poorly-designed servers. The company also subjected the drives to workloads they weren't designed for and published failure rate data. Seagate has addressed many of those issues and is working on a full image makeover.
Seagate's retail products take on a more aggressive look, but the makeover is more than skin-deep. Seagate includes two years of data recovery service to instill confidence in the consumer. The race to the bottom products with a thin metal chassis are over; the BarraCuda drives are very beefy and sturdy.
Performance and capacity are on the rise again, as well. The HDD vendors were barely innovating before flash came to the consumer market. Each new release was a baby step, but that changed after margins fell. These companies, especially Seagate, quickly learned that brand loyalty isn't as important in a commodity market. Hard drive sales numbers dropped as enthusiasts and mainstream users turned to memory companies like Corsair, Crucial, Patriot, and OCZ for SSDs.
Now the HDD companies want you back. When it comes to enthusiasts, there is very little incentive to ever go back to an HDD with so many low-cost SSDs on the market. For enthusiasts, hard disk drives are only a piece of the storage puzzle. Alone, they lack the performance of low-cost flash to be a viable solution as a boot drive. They can live on as secondary storage for storing games and other infrequently accessed data. They still lack the random access performance that so many have become accustomed to with flash.
Pairing HDDs with Optane Memory and other nonvolatile cache technologies changes the script and brings impressive performance along with the capacity of an HDD. The Seagate Barracuda Pro also offers more than enough performance to serve as a solid secondary storage volume.
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