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, the hybrid drive offers the best combination of space and cost.

Updates to the product include other changes:

  • The cache uses MLC NAND rather than the SLC NAND used in the original model
  • The cache size has been increased from the original 8GB to 16GB
  • The drive supports SATA extensions to give the drive cache hints.

Cache hints allow the software to indicate the relative importance of various information in three levels ranging from “You really ought to cache this” to “Cache this if you have any extra room.”

The two systems shown in this post’s graphic allowed the Intel crew to demonstrate pure SSD performance (using an Intel 510 SSD) against operation with the new Seagate Hybrid.  There was very little difference using a program that the Intel team claimed would “bring an HDD-based system to its knees.”

Objective Analysis has published a report that examines the hybrid drive in depth and forecasts its impact on the SSD market.  This report: Are Hybrid Drives Finally Coming of Age? that can be purchased for immediate download from the Objective Analysis website.

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