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A high-ranking executive of Seagate Technology said that he would not be surprised if the vast majority of hard disk drives (HDDs) in five years will have a special flash buffer to ensure high performance. The leading maker of hard drives also indicated that the demand towards the company's Momentus XT HDD is high.

"We feel really good about the [Momentus XT] product and I think as I have said on occasion looking out five years I would not be shocked if 80% of our portfolio is hybrid. [...] We believe that the hybrid drives [...], the drives where you basically utilize silicon technology in combination with HDD as probably by far in a way a better solution for the vast majority of client computing," said David Mosley, executive vice president of sales, marketing and product line management at Seagate, during quarterly conference call with financial analysts.

Seagate Momentus XT 2.5” 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 admits 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.

"I think in enterprise clearly there is a play for SSDs which Seagate feels very good about its roadmap right now. But in the mid-range of enterprise and clearly in the client, the hybrid drive has basically all the benefits of an SSD," added Mr. Mosley.

The hybrid hard drives (HHDs) are not ideal. They still consume more energy than SSDs and their performance advantage over traditional HDDs is not always obvious. Moreover, since flash memory has limited amount of write cycles it remains to be seen how durable the cache will be and how efficient it will be over time.

Tags: Seagate, Monentus, HDD


Comments currently: 7
Discussion started: 07/22/10 07:17:43 AM
Latest comment: 07/29/10 06:18:16 PM
Expand all threads | Collapse all threads


It is better to let technology goes its way through SSDs.
So, thinking about how to decrease the price of SSDs for end-users is more valuable than thinking about decreasing the quality of new Technologies.
0 0 [Posted by: Pouria  | Date: 07/22/10 07:17:43 AM]

SSD's will remain far more expensive per GB then HDD's for at least the next decade.
a hybride solution will probably be the way to go for this time.
but i'm not sure this is the right hybride route.
atleast for personal use a smaller hybride for the OS and programs and then a 2de normal HDD for normal storage will be the most cost effective solution.

enterprise users dont really care about costs, and much more about cost/performance/watt. and for that a pure SSD will probably be the most effective.
HDD's will be relegated too hot and cold backups most likely.
0 0 [Posted by: Countess  | Date: 07/22/10 08:12:40 AM]

In 5years a lot will change and SSDs will be ahead of it. Intel's Gen3 coming in Q3'10 and that will once more move tech along. Heck, arguable the fastest SSD, the OCZ Vertex2 is going for ~$360 for 100Gb (way more than enough for most systems) and considering how massively faster it is over standard HDDs it makes perfect sense to get. In 5years, everything will be SSD. Hell, its mid'10 and I only recommend SSDs already as its clear: 99% of the time you use your boot drive to load OS and apps and daily productivity. Use a slave HDD for archiving. HDDs are just for offline use now. SSDs especially after Gen3 in the fall, will leap ahead. Who needs 5 years? Passhh..
0 0 [Posted by: thudo  | Date: 07/22/10 08:20:13 AM]

I am planning to get a new system in about 18 months (early 2012), and it will have a SSD System/Boot drive, two mirroring 2TB HDD's for data and a smaller recycled HDD from my current system for downloading duties.

As most users only have one HDD in their system, it's likely that a majority of systems will be SSD-only in five years. Just wait until Dell, HP and Acer jump on the bandwagon.

As for now, it's normal for Seagate to be trying to present its Momentus hybrid drives as the wave of the future.
0 0 [Posted by: BernardP  | Date: 07/22/10 11:14:27 AM]

onboard flash is really just an extension of cache: the big difference is that it's nonvolatile. that means that it offers a big win by safely commiting writes immediately - it's always been unsafe to allow disks to claim writes were complete as soon as the data was in _volatile_ (ram) cache.

so really, the question is how well drive firmware writers can leverage flash - mostly just by extending the kind of heuristics they use now to decide when to cache in ram. for instance, the firmware might monitor the historic effectiveness of readahead from particular ranges of blocks, or notice that certain blocks keep getting re-read. flash could also mitigate the overhead of supporting 512b sector operations when the on-disk format has bigger sectors. not to mention the potential to avoid spinning up a laptop disk.
0 0 [Posted by: markhahn  | Date: 07/22/10 02:38:04 PM]

"their performance advantage over traditional HDDs is not always obvious" - true - they have to be booted few times to optimize their performance and after single "non-typical" usage session they revert to the original state and have to be "trained" again.

"since flash memory has limited amount of write cycles it remains to be seen how durable the cache will be and how efficient it will be over time." - not exactly true - they use SLC flash in hybrid drives and those are rather durable - there are even SLC SSDs with lifetime warranty on the market.
0 0 [Posted by: sanity  | Date: 07/24/10 05:09:21 AM]
- collapse thread

and what do you think lifetime warranty means ... a lifetime of ssd obviously :grin:

It's just usual marketing bs that means 5years limited warranty.

btw Do you really think someone will use that 80GB SSD after 5yrs when some 1000GB drive came out or even care about 'placebo pill warranty'?

Flash (SLC and MLC) as we know it is so last decade technology and give us nearly same advantage we gain with CRT to LCD transition and all that nice colorbanding-dithering-lagging effects.
0 0 [Posted by: OmegaHuman  | Date: 07/29/10 06:18:16 PM]


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