Seagate

Hybrid Drives Not Catching On

Seagate Momentus SSHD press photoSeagate announced last week that the company had shipped a total of 10 million Solid State Hybrid Drives (SSHDs) over the lifetime of the product.  This is far short of expectations by The SSD Guy and a number of other analysts and industry participants.

Why were our expectations higher?  There were a few reasons:

  • The hybrid drive can be viewed as an evolution of the DRAM cache already incorporated into nearly all HDDs today.  Replacing or augmenting an expensive DRAM cache with a slower, cheaper NAND cache makes a lot of sense.
  • An SSHD performs significantly better than Continue reading

Seagate’s Big Intro: Four New SSD Families in One Day

Seagate's Four New SSD FamiliesSeagate this week updated its SSD portfolio with four new product families and now claims to have the broadest portfolio of storage products in the industry.  This announcement squarely places the company in all the key SSD markets: SATA, SAS, and PCIe.

Here’s Seagate’s new lineup:

  • Seagate 600 6Gb/s SATA, a drive that Seagate calls: “The ultimate laptop upgrade”.  The company claims that this is the first Continue reading

Seagate Upgrades Hybrids, Phases Out 7,200RPM HDDs

Seagate's New SSHD FamilySeagate made two important statements on two successive days – March 4 and 5: First, the company disclosed plans to phase out its 7,200 RPM 2.5″ notebook HDDs, and second, Seagate announced a new line of Momentus XT hybrid hard drives, which the company calls: “Solid State Hybrid Drives” or “SSHDs.”

Are these two announcements related?  Well, The SSD Guy thinks they are!

Higher-RPM HDDs help to accelerate disk accesses by a small percentage while a hybrid can boost speeds significantly.  According to Seagate, Continue reading

Seagate Jumps into PCIe SSDs with Virident

Seagate adds PCI Express SSDs from ViridentSeagate Technology has made a $40 million investment in Virident Systems and has already begun to offer Virident PCIe SSDs to its customers.  This was announced on January 28 by the two companies.

Objective Analysis issued an Alert a few hours after the announcement to our clients. Some items we pointed out: Continue reading

Apple’s Fusion Drive – An SSD Cache for the Macintosh

Apple's Chart of Fusion Drive Performance for the new Mac MiniOn October 23 along with the highly-anticipated announcement of the iPad 4, Apple rolled out new Macintosh computers that for the first time in an Apple product pairs an SSD with a conventional HDD to get the best combination of capacity, speed, and price.  The company calls this its Fusion Drive, not to be confused with Fusion-io’s highly-regarded products.

The SSD Guy did not attend the announcement, and there is little on the Apple website.  I contacted Apple, and they don’t have very much detail to share at this time.  This is important to note, since Continue reading

Toshiba Announces its Hybrid Drive

Toshiba's New Hybrid DriveNow that we have seen announcements of hybrid drives from Western Digital and Seagate, Toshiba arrives with a formal announcement of the product that was on display at last month’s Flash Memory Summit.  Two 2.5″ Toshiba hybrid drives are starting to sample at 750GB and 1TB capacities.  Both have 8GB NAND caches, 6Gb/s SATA 3 interfaces, and 5,400RPM spindle speeds.  They are both built using 32nm SLC NAND, Toshiba’s “generation before last” technology, preceding the 24nm and 19nm nodes shipping in high volume today.

More importantly, both are 9.5mm in height, a thickness that renders them difficult to incorporate into the 18mm maximum thickness of the smaller Ultrabooks – a notebook form factor that Intel is heavily promoting.

How is this whole market Continue reading

Seagate Updates Hybrid Drive

Intel/Seagate Demo of RST System Using a Hybrid HDDAt the Intel Developer Forum Intel showed Seagate‘s updated Momentus XT Hybrid Solid State Drive in operation.  The new drive is only 7mm thick, significantly thinner than the 9.5mm Momentus XT that the company has been shipping for the past 2 years.

This is significant because the 13mm target thickness of the Ultrabook platform is extremely difficult to achieve using a 9.5mm drive, yet the performance specification of the Ultrabook requires the use of NAND flash, either in the form of a full-blown SSD, an HDD with an additional cache SSD, or a hybrid drive.  Of the three choices, Continue reading

WD Introduces Hybrid HDD

Western Digital's new hybrid HDD is only 5mm thickWestern Digital Corporation on Monday announced that it is sampling its long-awaited hybrid HDD.  WD claims that the 500GB 2.5″ device is the thinnest in the industry at 5mm. So far Seagate has been alone in this field with its Momentus XT Solid State Hybrid Drive.  There are some significant differences between the two drives:

  • Seagate uses SLC flash while WD uses MLC.  There is more than a 10:1 price premium for SLC flash
  • Seagate’s hybrid ships in 750GB and 500GB capacities while WD’s is 500GB
  • Seagate’s device is 9.5mm thick, while WD’s is 5mm

The last point is extremely Continue reading

For the Lack of a Fab…

SanDisk-Toshiba Yokkaichi Plant from WD 2007 IDEMA PresentationOne popular argument to explain why SSDs have not displaced the HDDs in all PCs is that there isn’t enough NAND flash production capacity to support this business and there never can be.

This argument has been posed as long ago as 2007 by WD CEO John Coyne at an IDEMA conference (the source of this post’s graphic), SanDisk’s Eli Harari at the Flash Memory Summit in 2008, and Seagate‘s CEO Steve Luczo in a Forbes interview as recently as last April.  These are captains of the industry.  Their arguments make people stand up and take notice.

It’s a really flawed argument.

It goes like this: Continue reading

Seagate Invests in DensBits

Seagate and DensBits Strategic AgreementSeagate today announced an investment and technology agreement with DensBits, an Israeli SSD controller company mentioned by The SSD Guy in another post.

According to the press release Seagate will use DensBits’ technology for “consumer and enterprise applications including 3 bits/cell (“TLC”) 1Xnm Flash-based consumer-grade SSD, and 2 bits/cell (“MLC”) 1Xnm Flash-based enterprise-grade SSD.”

A pattern is starting to emerge.  We understand that Seagate’s current Pulsar SSDs use chips from Link_A_Media (the subject of another recent post) which has only recently Continue reading

Contact

Jim Handy
Objective Analysis
SSD Market Research
+1 (408) 356-2549
Jim.Handy (at) Objective-Analysis.com

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