Seagate: Apple is wrong about SSDs, hybrids are the future


Posts: 152   +0
During Apple's most recent Mac event, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said the new MacBook Air represented the future of the notebook. The major hardware difference between the Air and traditional notebooks is that it features a Solid State Drive (SSD) rather than a typical hard drive. Seagate meanwhile believes that SSDs won't be killing off traditional hard drives in the notebook sector, and will be replaced instead by

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Darth Shiv

Posts: 2,035   +622
I'm no Apple fan but Jobs is right here. Seagate are going to be left behind with this thinking. It's a risky strategy which relies on flash being much more expensive than rotating disk storage. OCZ are almost tripling output capacity of SSD production. There are 1TB SSDs now. The largest HDD is 3TB isn't it? The gap is closing. I see SSDs on the market now with over 700MB/s read/write speeds - OCZ IBIS for example. The price is only going to go down. Many will argue the price vs performance is worth it now. Ask someone with an SSD what they think.


Posts: 158   +15
I agree with Luczo. I think a Hybrid HDD/SSD will dominate the secondary storage market for both notebook and desktop computing in about a year. The most obvious reasons would be the cost and capacity. Many people doesn't care about speed or features, they just need a secondary storage with sufficient capacity without paying much.


Posts: 2,887   +627
Well, I see HDD platters as large storage for media etc, and SSD's for high-priority stuff liek OS and productivity. Desktops can accommodate 2+ HDD's easily, whereas laptop mostly has one (someones two..).

So, this hybrid stuff will definitely be popular in the portable market.


Posts: 18   +0
For once I agree with Steve Jobs. SSDs will be the future of HDDs. Moving parts in a hard drive are unnecessary now so why have a hybrid? Its just more to break. SSDs last longer, they are stronger and they are the best move for the future.


Posts: 231   +0
Well as a person that usually store lots, lots of media, and also play games and care about speeds, I´ll probably will go for a Hybrid this hollydays. as I am on the butget market, I cannot afford 1 SSD + 1 Big HHD.

So how does a SSD hybrid work? Does it use a SSD to "buffer" as it writes to the HDD, or is it something completely different?

Apple is probably right about SSDs being the future of storage. They have too many advantages and the disadvantages are slowly going away as the tech gets better.


Posts: 1,518   +552
For mobile platforms, the SSD makes much more sense, so in that Jobs is right (and I HATE agreeing with Steve-o on anything). Low power requirements, no moving parts and worries about impact or vibration, it's win-win for that market.

Now comes the "however" part... Currently, SSDs are too expensive when compared to spinning platters. And the storage density just can't compare. So, I can see Seagate's approach to the market. But, let's be honest, it's a short-sighted strategy, which will drive them into the ground as SSDs become cheaper and increase capacities. SSDs will dominate, sooner or later, so Seagate should no put all their eggs in one basket.

Seems to me that there are other better industries than notebooks for Seagate. The server markets are ideal for hybrids, both right now and longer term. Huge capacities, and improved read/write speeds from the hybridizing, make it a pretty ideal closed and protected environment for those hybrid drives.


Posts: 54   +3
Having bought the Momentus XT, I have to say that my impressions of it are kinda iffy. Yes, there is speed compared to a traditional drive, but is that really noticeable after awhile? Not so much.
It's in my laptop, which I don't use nearly as often as my desktop, so I can't say that I really put it through the trials I should, but it still feels sluggish.


Posts: 30   +0
SSD's have been out for a bit now. The size capacity is growing, and it's becoming pretty known, even amongst PC-challenged consumers. With it's growing reputation, it would probably be in Seagates to hop on the bandwagon. SSD's are a little on the pricey side, but 250 GB's worth of blazing fast transfer rates, would keep me contempt.


Posts: 157   +0
Both these technologies sound(and SSD's ARE) brilliant, very reliable and fast(unless you accidentally defragment a SSD =P) but right now the price of even a small sized and very fast 'boot drive' SSD is in the low £100 mark and I don't think that's value for money.

In the future when they get reduced in price I'll probably end up getting one or this new hybrid but for now my 2 640GB Western digital Caviar Blue's will do fine =)


Certainly from a near-future point of view the hybrids are OK. Current SSD technology is not worthy for serious business. It is valid only for /temp and scratch data. If a block is gone all of it is gone. On disk drives, you got one bad block and luckily your data may be already recovered. So, what about? you absolutelly need backup, lets say a tiny RAID, doubling your costs.
Caveat Empor!

shadow elF


Posts: 1,006   +248
I have to say I feel pretty ignorant about hybrid drives. I know they existed but I didn't realize any companies were spending a good deal of time/money advancing the technology. Are hybrids at the consumer level already? How do the prices compare to SSDs and HDDs? I'll have to look into them...


If hybrid drives can manage to crank up the amount of flash packed into it, then I can see it beating out SSD in the near future. However once SSD technology reaches critical mass where it becomes even faster and 300GB+ become reasonably priced, there probably won't be a reason to go back to a HDD except for massive 3TB+ storage


Posts: 398   +17
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." - Alan Kay

Apple has been predicting the future for a long time (iPod, iPhone, iTunes Store, iPad).


Posts: 7   +2
Well watching the two perspective, i have to say first of all that the solid state drive market is not huge in terms of selling units, plus solid state drive offers speed vs capacity in a world that right now the demand is concerned mainly on how much data they storage, ok speed is very important, but without great capacity speed becomes useless


Posts: 2,006   +18
I have a Momentus XT HD which I pre-ordered and didn't cancel fast enough before it shipped when I realized I want a pure SSD. I use it as the OS drive for my second computer. I don't use it for a lot of extensive applications beyond multimedia but the boot times are much better on this computer, which has a less powerful AMD processor and running Vista as compared to my computer with a OC 920, 7, and Raptor Raid 0 array.

As far as use goes, I think that on desktop PCs, a smaller capacity SSD drive is a better purchase, as your average SSD buyer probably has a bunch of HDDs laying around to use as media storage drives.

I think in the laptop department these drives are a better idea right now, especially if you are not a power user. If your user experience does not go beyond using the internet, multimedia and a productivity suite, the XT might be really the way to go. You get decent storage capacity, much faster boot times, and the 4 GB flash probably ensures that most of the stuff you use gets placed in the buffer.

But in the long run, its all up in the air. I remember watching Screen Savers when they were going to attempt to build a computer with 1 TB in storage (wow...they'll never run out of room...)


Posts: 284   +2
I still see SSD's as a product which doesn't really increase speed that much and costs a fair amount, and capacity is an obvious problem. I clean unwanted files and programs every two or so weeks, and my computer boots very quickly and the general speed is excellent. I am staying with my bog standard desk star 500GB for as long as it takes for a worthy replacement to come along.


Posts: 29   +0
Seems like just another corporation trying to squeeze out as much dough as they can out of every leg in the process of evolution. Even seagate will have to cave in at some point, especially in the general consumer market. My mom has a 250 gig HD, filled with 30 gigs of data and probably won't break 50 and even she would appreciate faster startup times since every other smaller gadget (IOS and Android) is almost instant on. especially if it meant giving up 220 gigs she doesn't use. Your move Seagate.


Posts: 74   +19
i think SSD's are great and could have had a much bigger explosion into the market if the cost per gigabyte wasnt so ridiculiously high. I think most enthusiasts will still stick with the SSD just to squeeze out as much power as possible but I'm guessing the retail market will switch to the hybrid.


Posts: 55   +18
I've really been contemplating a SSD purchase because usually the 1st thing to break down in my system is the mechanical parts of my hard drive, since the hybrids still have moving parts they really don't seem appealing.


Posts: 6   +0
SSD is the only way forward and prices will only go down. Classic HDDs offer more capacity but performance is not acceptable anymore - now that we have the alternative in SSDs. If Seagate doesn't adopt to this they will be left behind by new companies that are smart enough to see the future.


Posts: 14   +0
Have to agree with those saying the pure SSD drives are the way to go. As the prices go down and storage amounts increase this can only end one way. The floopy will go to the same place tape drives and 3.5 inch disks have gone. Also you have the fact that with no moving parts the failure rate on these drives will be much less than disked drives. Give it 3-5 years and we should see these showing up all over the place, not just user devices but in server rooms.


The biggest bottle neck in computer performance (other than the user) has always been the disk. Seagate knows this. The only reason the the CEO says otherwise is because they are releasing a hybrid. To say otherwise would simply put a huge damper on their sales.

Good grief. No one said HDDs are dead now. There is always a transition period. But there is ALWAYS a transition. SSDs are the future. Who knows what will come after that. But something will. And we will have this discussion again, just like when we went from floppies to hdds and when floppies died and the optical drive became the thing. And now that the optical drive is dying, the conversation is not just about SSDs vs HDDs.

Are they dead yet? No, they are still "happyyy, oh so happyyy!'. But they are about to be clobbered on the head. It is the nature of technology. Thank goodness. Otherwise we'd still be using an 8mhz processor with a 720 meg floppy and 640k of ram.