by Anton Shilov
08/09/2011 | 09:55 AM
Seagate Technology said Tuesday that it had shipped its one millionth hybrid hard drive for laptop PCs after launching the product – Momentus XT – in spring 2010. The amount of hybrid drives that have been shipped in the most recent 14 months by Seagate is not very high, but the manufacturer stresses that the popularity of such products is increasing.
The Momentus XT solid state hybrid drive features 500GB capacity, 4GB of onboard flash memory as well as 7200rpm spindle speed. Seagate’s Adaptive Memory technology optimizes performance by moving frequently used information into the 4GB of onboard flash cache for faster bootup and application access. Major computer makers including Alienware, Asustek Computer, Dell, Sony and Toshiba now offer laptops powered by the 2.5" hybrid hard drives.
The problem with today’s high-performance SSDs for mobile computing is that they cost as much as 10 times more than hard disk drives of the same capacity, with the price of a 250GB SSD outstripping even the cost of many laptop PCs. Most consumers and system builders are unwilling or unable to pay the high price for the greater speed of SSDs. The Momentus XT drive are supposed to deliver speeds that are higher compared to that of traditional HDDs and which are closer to that of SSD. Unfortunately, modern operating systems cannot take advantage of additional NAND flash cache, which is why actual performance of Momentus XT is not as high as it could be.
As a consequence, the popularity of Seagate's hybrid drives is not truly high: one million drives in fourteen months means that Seagate shipped around 71.5 thousand of hybrid hard drives per month, which is lower than the number of more expensive solid-state drives shipped by major and second-tier manufacturers. However, both Seagate and market analysts believe that HHDs do have bright future.
“Seagate's shipment of its one millionth Momentus XT drive is just the beginning of a bright future for solid state hybrid drives. Fast, capacious, and economical hybrid HDD and NAND flash storage solutions like the Momentus XT drive will be found in roughly 25% of all new PCs shipped in 2015," said John Rydning, research director at IDC.