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Seagate Launches Hybrid SSD Hard Drive

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the sure-why-not dept.

Data Storage 224

MojoKid writes "Though there has been some noise in recent years about hybrid storage, it really hasn't made a significant impact on in the market. Seagate is taking another stab at the technology and launched the Momentus XT 2.5-inch hard drive that mates 4GB of flash storage with traditional spinning media in an attempt to bridge the gap between hard drives and SSDs. Seagate claims the Momentus XT can offer the same kind of enhanced user experience as an SSD, but with the capacity and cost of a traditional hard drive. That's a pretty tall order, but the numbers look promising, at least compared to current traditional notebook hard drives."

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4GB? (1, Funny)

bbqsrc (1441981) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323064)

4GB is very restrictive. I had the first EeePC, the 701, with the 4GB SSD. Talk about micromanage the OS... You can't even install Windows 7 onto the 4GB SSD and put the rest of your data on the HDD, as it's too small! What's the point?

Re:4GB? (4, Informative)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323092)

The cache is 4GB, the drive is up to a 500 GB 'traditional' drive.

Re:4GB? (4, Funny)

bbqsrc (1441981) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323114)

I see. Then I must leave.

Re:4GB? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32323250)

I see. Then I must leave.

It's not your fault. You probably ran out of virtual memory on your 4GB hard drive.

Re:4GB? (4, Insightful)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324254)

Solid state drives are flash-based and may never have the price:GB ratio that mechanical drives have. Methinks that even when 1TB SSDs become relatively cheap, mechanical HDDs will still reign in price and long-term reliability for heavy data usage. The deal with this hybrid product is that it combines both technologies to get the best of both worlds today. 4GB of flash is cheap, and obviously, so are mechanical drives. Combine them to get similar performance to a SSD and reliability of an HDD.

What makes this special is not just that it has a cache. Every HDD out there has a cache. This puppy has a "cache" 100x what current drives have. What's more is that this cache is persistent/nonvolatile. It's good when you reboot, so even at OS load, you see the advantages.

MOD PARENT UP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32324330)

Wow!

Re:4GB? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323554)

Please leave your nerd card on the desk on your way out.

Re:4GB? (2, Funny)

Rallias Ubernerd (1760460) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323664)

If you must leave, can i have your nerd club official library card?

Re:4GB? (1)

Walterk (124748) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324078)

The cache is 4GB, the drive is up to a 500 GB 'traditional' drive.

So you just use an SSD as cache, writing to it very often, exactly what they're really bad at [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:4GB? (2, Informative)

InfiniteWisdom (530090) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324150)

Yes [storagesearch.com]

Re:4GB? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32323162)

Whenever I see a fat chick heiffer with rolls of jiggly sweaty fat hanging off her bones to where you cannot tell where her tits end and her stomach begins I think "wow, what a waste of a perfectly good vagina."

Re:4GB? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32323316)

Well, why do you think they call it a "waist"????

Re:4GB? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323948)

That's bigger than any other drive for your XT [wikipedia.org] . That is why it's called the Momentus XT, right?

Gets Better Over Time (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323066)

The performance of the drive gets better over time as it 'learns' your most frequently used files. I hope it's smart enough to ignore the 'swapfile'.

Try adjusting the swapPINESS (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323116)

What swapfile? I have used Ubuntu on a few PCs with at least half a GB of RAM, and I rarely see swap usage climb above 40 MB. In an environment where reads are cheaper than writes, you'll want to use a low value for the swappiness [ubuntu.com] , such as 10% instead of the default 60%.

Re:Try adjusting the swapPINESS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32323260)

I bet you rarely get laid too.

Re:Try adjusting the swapPINESS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32323934)

Huh-huh, huh-huh, you said "penis."

Re:Gets Better Over Time (1)

yincrash (854885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323228)

Wouldn't you want your swap space to be stored on the faster SSD rather than the slower spinning media?

Re:Gets Better Over Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32323312)

Only if you want the SSD to die within a month. Windows writes to the swapfile pretty much constantly.

Re:Gets Better Over Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32323424)

>Only if you want the SSD to die within a month. Windows writes to the swapfile pretty much constantly.

A month is probably exaggerating. I think Intel, for example says their mainstream drive should last at least 5 years with 20 GB:s written every day.

Re:Gets Better Over Time (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323512)

Swap space can easily outpace that though.

Though I suspect default settings in operating systems will trend towards not doing such.

Re:Gets Better Over Time (4, Funny)

N Monkey (313423) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323612)

Only if you want the SSD to die within a month. Windows writes to the swapfile pretty much constantly.

Oh dear, I'd better remember to replace my SSD-based laptop, err, 9 months ago.

Re:Gets Better Over Time (4, Informative)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323396)

These days with RAM being so cheap, your swap space is basically a warning that things are going terribly wrong. You want your swap on slow storage because slow storage is cheap and your swap should see very few writes under normal operation. If your machine starts hitting swap like crazy, you'll know immediately because your performance will go straight down the crapper as it feverishly tries to write to slow storage. This is your cue to figure out what's wrong and fix it ASAP so your machine will stop thrashing.

Re:Gets Better Over Time (3, Insightful)

AusIV (950840) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323546)

The main thing I use swap for these days is hibernating my laptop. What I need is persistent storage - the quicker the better.

Re:Gets Better Over Time (2, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323762)

Ooh, good idea. By the way, I've been thinking of making an alarm clock that electrocutes your testicles if you hit the snooze button - can I sign you up for the beta?

Re:Gets Better Over Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32324064)

Not neccessarily. I've got a bunch of drives in my computer, and each one is host to a small swap file. So if one link is satuarted for whatever reason in theory the computer should be able to write to the other swap files without any issues.

SLC flash (3, Informative)

Animal Farm Pig (1600047) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323474)

According to the article, it's SLC flash. It should have many more write-erase cycles than MLC.

Manageable hybrid (5, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323144)

Hybrid storage drives should be manually manageable.

You should have the possibility of configuring which files/folders/partitions/whatever you want to be accessed fast and which parts are to be left as "long term", slow access, storage.

Re:Manageable hybrid (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32323180)

I have a manageable hybrid.

Read heavy system partitions on a small SSD (/boot, /bin, /etc ...etc), everything on magnetic.

Re:Manageable hybrid (1)

ThoughtMonster (1602047) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323280)

Not feasible on a laptop. This drive, however, seems perfect for most purposes, and the price is not half-bad either ($156 for the 500GB version). Performance is better than traditional drives in almost all benchmarks, and reaches up to 2x the performance when using commonly accessed files (like, the operating system).

I'd love to see what this does for boot speeds etc.

Different partitions, not as good? (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323764)

Performance is better than traditional drives in almost all benchmarks, and reaches up to 2x the performance when using commonly accessed files (like, the operating system).

I agree, and I think the 'different partitions' of the parent poster isn't as good of a system as an automatic cache system.

Consider that even for linux installs, not all system files are going to be equally read or written, same with applications and even data files. Some will be used almost all the time, some will collect virtual dust for years.

Newegg prices:
500 GB laptop drive: $65. 13 cents per gig
65 GB SSD: $145. $2.23 per gig. (Went 64GB to avoid small cap premium).

At around 6% of the cost, it's essentially 'free' to duplicate the SSD data on the actual platter. You're paying 52 cents for that 4GB on the platter, $8.92 for the SSD. That puts flash very much in the price range for cache - where you're willing to spend the money for the extra performance, but just can't afford to put everything on there.

I'm sure an 8GB version would make the geeks very happy, but I wouldn't be surprised if 90% of my most commonly accessed files would easily fit on 4GB. More is better, of course, but at 20x the price, how much 'more' is really better?

With smart caching, I wouldn't be surprised if doubling the storage had less than 10% difference in real world performance.

The main reason I'd want 8 or even 16GB is that I recently went to a SSD for my main computer and I LOVE the fast hybernate(and wake up). So there's 4 or eventually 8 GB right there for the hybernate file. Don't forget the whole GB vs GiB debate... Memory uses 'real' gigabytes, which means that you'll likely need 5GB as HD/SSD makers measure them...

Re:Manageable hybrid (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323288)

I have a manageable hybrid.

Read heavy system partitions on a small SSD (/boot, /bin, /etc ...etc), everything on magnetic.

Separating both parts leaves you with two options.

A manageable hybrid would let you have more degrees of speed/size. It would let you use just a part of the SSD to accelerate the accesses to a part of the magnetic storage, the rest as pure SSD and the rest of magnetic for low priority storage.

Re:Manageable hybrid (1)

Alien1024 (1742918) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323516)

That's probably not a hybrid but two drives: a SSD and a magnetic drive.

Re:Manageable hybrid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32323986)

thats the old idea of swapping. whats used now is rather called paging. meaning any new program starting up in memory will equally reserve space on swap. thus the constant need to access swap space.

Re:Manageable hybrid (1)

bluesatin (1350681) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323298)

So you mean like having 2 separate drives?

Re:Manageable hybrid (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323426)

So you mean like having 2 separate drives?

Two drives with a direct connection that allows me to seamlessly save what I'm reading on the SSD so a second access is faster.

(while having all other options of having them both)

Re:Manageable hybrid (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323666)

Except it would not be two physical drives. Awesome for laptops!

Re:Manageable hybrid (1)

boxwood (1742976) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323864)

hard to fit 2 drives into a laptop.

Re:Manageable hybrid (1)

drerwk (695572) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323674)

I feel the same way about swap pages.

Hmmm... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32323292)

Wouldn't it be cheaper and more effective just add an additional 4 GB of memory for disk cache?

Re:Hmmm... (3, Insightful)

Lennie (16154) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323420)

It wouldn't help start up time would it ?

Re:Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32323524)

Neither will an in-disk cache. You access the start-up files only once per boot, not a likely cache candidate.

But to the OP - with 4GB on flash, you boot up with a warm cache (for your regularly used data/programs), where as the RAM cache will need time to warm.

Re:Hmmm... (3, Informative)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323536)

No, because then every time your computer reboots, you need to fill the cache again. Using a solid state cache, you need to fill the cache only once and then keep it updated according to your usage, but a reboot wont harm performance at all.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323602)

Most laptops, netbooks and all Macs except the Mac Pro have very limited RAM upgrade capabilities. You can't "just add an additional 4 GiB of memory".

Re:Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32323658)

He didn't say add 4GB of RAM. He said 4GB of hard drive cache. There is a huuuuuuuuge difference.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

InfiniteWisdom (530090) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324286)

How would it be "cheaper"? 4GB of RAM costs about $100 [newegg.com] . That gets you about a 32GB SSD [newegg.com] .

Several of the other comments below address the "effective" part.

ReadyBoost in hw? (4, Interesting)

W2k (540424) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323338)

I wonder if this is simply a more expensive version of ReadyBoost. Similarly, it takes your most frequently used files and puts them on a flash drive for faster access times, in a way that is transparent to the end user. In this case I wonder if there would be any speed gain from using this on a PC running Windows 7 with ReadyBoost? Caching always introduces some overhead, so rather than using multiple levels of "flash cache" it might be better to simply turn ReadyBoost off in that case. My experience with ReadyBoost has been that it does indeed improve performance, but in no way close to using a real SSD as the system drive.

Re:ReadyBoost in hw? (2, Insightful)

eqisow (877574) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323418)

Hmm, USB vs SATA... I imagine this would be faster than Ready Boost. On the other hand, if you're rocking USB 3.0...

Re:ReadyBoost in hw? (4, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323606)

Microsoft actually did pitch "ReadyDrive" [wikipedia.org] hybrid SSDs as a selling point for Vista back when it launched. It was basically the same as this, except the caching was controlled in the OS and not the drive and it did some fancier stuff like caching boot data on shutdown. It didn't do very well, perhaps because the technology wasn't mature enough in price and speed.

Re:ReadyBoost in hw? (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323642)

Not to mention it would be a Windows-only product.

Re:ReadyBoost in hw? (1)

Yamata no Orochi (1626135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323896)

I'm not sure why Microsoft producing a Windows-only product would in any way harm their sales.

Re:ReadyBoost in hw? (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324092)

If Microsoft would produce them by themselves, that wouldn't be a problem. But as they don't do that sort of thing, they need to convince a harddrive manufacturer to produce it for them. And I don't think a lot of harddrive manufacturers would be interested in such a product.

Re:ReadyBoost in hw? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32324096)

I'm not sure why Microsoft producing a Windows-only product would in any way harm their sales.

I'm not sure why anyone other than Microsoft would view their sales figures as relevant to this discussion about interoperability.

Re:ReadyBoost in hw? (1)

Yamata no Orochi (1626135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324454)

The micro-discussion was actually regarding Microsoft's ReadyDrive, and the mention that it was a selling point to Vista.

Actually, this whole thread is an offshoot of a comment comparing the drive's function to ReadyBoost.

You lost me... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324356)

You expected a built-in feature of the Windows OS to run on Linux?

Re:You lost me... (2, Insightful)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324440)

No, I would expect a harddrive to work in Linux. A harddrive which relies on ReadyDrive would not be a very good product, as it would only work correctly in Windows. That's why those type of harddisks never caught on, even though Microsoft did try to push this concept.

What Seagate is doing now, is using the ReadyDrive-concept of hybrid harddrives, but provide ReadyBoost-type technology on the controller of the harddisk instead of relying on the operating system.

Re:ReadyBoost in hw? (1)

dskzero (960168) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324488)

Not to mention it would be a Windows-only product.

... and the point being?

Re:ReadyBoost in hw? (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324548)

That Seagate's concept of a hybrid drive is a lot better product than what Microsoft was suggesting with the ReadyDrive concept, as Seagate's hybrid drive doesn't rely on functionality only provided by Microsoft Windows and Microsoft's ReadyDrive does.

So they make a hard drive with a cache? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32323354)

And I am supposed to be impressed?

Can this HD do anything different/better than a HD with a dram cache?

RTFA (3, Interesting)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323466)

The trend continued in the remainder of the PCMark Vantage tests. On the first run of the benchmark, the Seagate Momentus XT performed surprisingly well. By the third run though, performance had increased dramatically and approached the level of the true SSD.

We should also point out that we ran this test numerous times, and after the third run, the additional performance increases stopped, which is to say Run 4 performed like Run 3. The screenshots of the actual Vantage performance summaries are available in the image gallery at the bottom of the page for those that would like to see the progression from Run 1 through Run 4.

So, it is slightly more expensive than a high performance disk drive, and offers most of the performance of an SSD. Most room on hard drives is taken up by massive media files, which do not need to be accessed at top speed because they are usually streamed for playback.

Eventually the the best drives will allow you to designate a folder for SSD storage only. Video editors should be able to buy a 1TB/32GB SSD drive and have a folder for the files they are currently editing. This may not be necessary if the drive intelligently identifies open files and transfers them to the SSD portion.

And I don't think this is just a big cache. I'm pretty sure hard drive caches disappear upon reboot.

Re:So they make a hard drive with a cache? (5, Informative)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323490)

The difference between this drive and every other drive on the markt is not the fact it has a cache. Every harddisk has a cache. The difference is: this drive has a 4 GB cache. And because it's an SSD cache and not (as you suggest) a RAM cache, it maintains it's state even between reboots, so your computer is fast right from the start.

Re:So they make a hard drive with a cache? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32323826)

The difference between this drive and every other drive on the markt is not the fact it has a cache. Every harddisk has a cache. The difference is: this drive has a 4 GB cache. And because it's an SSD cache and not (as you suggest) a RAM cache, it maintains it's state even between reboots, so your computer is fast right from the start.

...now my computer is fast! finally fast!

Or wait.. (3, Interesting)

XMode (252740) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323390)

OCZ and im sure others have SSDs up to 500GB now. OK, they cost as much as my car, but they exist. It wont be long before they get up to 1TB, then 2TB.. Then its just a matter of waiting for the price to come down.

SSDs have caught up to traditional drives capacity extremely quickly, it wont be long before you can put a 10TB SSD in your laptop and never have to worry again (well, except for loosing it).

Re:Or wait.. (5, Insightful)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323576)

SSD wont be as cheap per GB as traditional drives for many years to come. Chances are that even when a 500 GB SSD drive gets to an acceptable price point, an old-fashioned hard drive would still be cheaper and hold many, many more data at the same time.

This solution provides a cost-effective way to have both performance and storage *right now*.

Re:Or wait.. (-1, Troll)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324068)

...an old-fashioned hard drive would still be cheaper and hold many, many more data at the same time.

You keep on using that word... I don't think it means what you think it means.
:-P

Re:Or wait.. (2, Interesting)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324118)

Should it be "much" instead? I'm not a native English speaker, so if you could enlighten me on how to use the language correctly, I would be thankful.

Re:Or wait.. (1)

bblount (976092) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324210)

Yeah, much is correct. "... would still be cheaper and hold much, much more data at the same time."

Re:Or wait.. (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324250)

How can I tell when to use "many" and when to use "much"?

Re:Or wait.. (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324338)

When the grammar nazis attack you on Slashdot...

Re:Or wait.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32324426)

You use "many" for countable nouns, and "much" for things you cant count.

example:

Countable nouns: Apples, dogs, cars. You can say "I have three dogs."

Un-Countable nouns: Sugar, money, furniture. You cant say "I have three sugars". You'd have to put something countable in there, like "I have three cups of sugar." to count it properly.

How "many" dogs? Three.

How "much" sugar? A lot.

So in the example you initially used, "data" isn't countable. You cant have "three data". So it would be "much more data".

If you changed it a little, you could say "three bits of data", because you can count a bit. Then it would be "many more bits of data". Though, no one really says it this way.

http://www.learn-english-online.org/Lesson36/Lesson36.htm

Re:Or wait.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32324256)

Technically, data is plural (of datum), so "many" is correct. In practice it just sounds weird though, so everyone uses "much".

Re:Or wait.. (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324306)

Nothing sound weird to me, as I'm not a native speaker. I understand data is plural, but do you also use it like that in sentences? Would you say: "the data is stored safely" or "the data are stored safely?"

Re:Or wait.. (4, Informative)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324288)

Should it be "much" instead? I'm not a native English speaker, so if you could enlighten me on how to use the language correctly, I would be thankful.

"Much" would be correct. In general, "much" is used when speaking without reference to any kind of unit (e.g. oil, power, land, money, data, etc), while "many" is used when speaking with units (e.g. barrels, kilowatts, hectares, dollars, bytes).

Re:Or wait.. (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324322)

Thanks! So it's "much data" holding "many bytes", right?

Re:Or wait.. (1)

arielCo (995647) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324366)

Long ago "data" was just the plural of "datum" [wiktionary.org] (single fact or piece of information), and in that sense "many" would be adequate. But when using it as a mass noun (as is the case here) it would be a mass noun (measureable and singular like "water"), and you'd talk about "much data".

Re:Or wait.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32324388)

My cup holds much more water than your cup. My cup holds many more pebbles than your cup. I suppose "data" is more like water, in that there's a whole shitload of it and functions like a singular noun. Theoretically, though, data is a plural of datum. I bet back in the day when 4k was a lot, "many data" was a valid term.

Re:Or wait.. (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324400)

"Many more data" is technically correct, but in casual conversation most people treat it as a mass noun rather than a plural of 'datum'.

No, not really (4, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324124)

The way to get both performance and storage right now is to by TWO disks. An amazing concept I know. Who would have thought it was possible to get more then one HD/SSD into a PC.

Every single story about SSD's seems to bring out the idiots who want everything on one disk. Good thing these guys ain't farmers or they would be trying to plow the field with a Ferrari or cruise town with a tractor.

This drive is only of use to people who can't afford a real SSD and are limited to a laptop with only one drive bay and even then you would get far better performance with a normal SSD and an external drive for your porn collection.

Yes yes, there are people who use a laptop AND have need for far bigger datasets but on the whole, those people also need far greater access speeds then a traditional laptop HD can offer. I find it amazing to see someone claim he needs to edit video on a laptop with a 500gb 2.5 inch HD running at 5400 rpm. Who are you trying to kid?

And this drive won't be much help here. 4GB is just a cache file, if you are lucky it caches the right files but if you are doing complex stuff these "smart" caches often get horribly confused and start caching the wrong data. Like Vista trying to cache torrented files. Yes, I know it accesses the file a lot but please don't try and cache a 10gb file on the same HD. What's the fucking point? If you for instance will be running a large database from this drive, I am willing to bet its cache performance will degrade as it simply has to much to cache. Small caches only work when a small amount of files is requested a lot and the rest isn't. Like a porn collecton on your OS drive. Video editing, databases, filesharing always screw up caches.

If you really want performance in a laptop, spring for one with two drive bays, put as much memory in it as it can hold and get an SSD and a HD. A real SSD not one of the cheap ones some laptop companies put inside. An SSD is NOT just a fast HD, they truly are in a class of their own. And even if you got only a small single SSD, then you can still save space by putting your music/porn on a flash card or usb stick instead.

I wonder if people can ever get it into their heads that an SSD is about speed, not about capacity. Then again, since every single netbook these days comes with a 360gb slow ass HD instead of small but fast SSD, I think I might be fighting a loosing battle. Seems the average customer can only judge something if the number is bigger.

Re:No, not really (2, Insightful)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324230)

The way to get both performance and storage right now is to by TWO disks. An amazing concept I know. Who would have thought it was possible to get more then one HD/SSD into a PC.

In most computers sold today, the fitting of more than one harddrive is not possible. Besides that, it's a very difficult to manage solution, as people will have to manually decide what to put on the fast drive and what to put on the large drive. All in all it's a very fiddly solution, only available to tech-savvy folks with customazible computers. Not to mention the fact that two drives are more expensive than one.

In the real world, a hybrid drive such as Seagate is proposing is a lot better in almost every way thinkable. It's just one drive, so it will fit in basically every computer in existence and it functions completely automatic, as the user is presented with just one storage medium. The tests in the article prove this type of drive is both faster than traditional drives and a lot cheaper than SSD's, so it really is best of both worlds.

I wonder if people can ever get it into their heads that an SSD is about speed, not about capacity.

That's because harddrives are meant for capacity, not speed. Nobody thinks "Hey, my computer is slow, lets get a new harddrive". People buy harddrives to store their stuff on, so they want the drive that will hold the most stuff. So if you want to sell a lot of harddrives, you have to make sure they are able to hold a lot of data first and then think of a USP on top of that, which is exactly what Seagate is doing by creating these hybrid disks. The result will be large and fast disks for everyone.

Re:Or wait.. (1)

inKubus (199753) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324196)

Multi-tier storage is all the rage in enterprise storage now. With a SAN (storage area network), it's fairly easy to have different types of storage pools available to all of your servers. Then it's just software performing a maintenance process to move data from front line to near-line to back line.

Typically this would probably go something like this, for a midsize organization with a few hundred TB of live data:

8-16 SSD's in a RAID10 (~500-1000GB)
32-128TB 15K SAS Drives RAID10
32-128TB 7.2K nearline SAS Drives RAID 6 or 10
32-??TB Tape such as LTO

There are completely autonomous systems that do this now. It's pretty complex to set up but it's possible now to get a multi-tier data setup for not that much money.

What this drive does is bring some of that power to the laptop world. If you have a desktop and haven't gotten a 40GB SSD [google.com] yet, what are you waiting for? Granted, these Intel drives are not the fastest, but 40GB should be enough for almost anything you could do. You could definitely install an entire distro pretty easily. After that, if you run out of space, if you're using LVM you can just add another SSD that's twice as big in 2 years for another $100, then keep leapfrogging for $50/year to unlimited storage. Use some type of network storage if you have a ton of extra data, or add a 5400 rpm "green" drive.

This would work for most people and I predict 90% of desktops will be SSD-only in about 2 years. That's why hard drive manufacturers are scrambling to release drives in the 2TB, even 3TB range now. Their days are numbered. Cool, power efficient, fast SSDs are simply superior for almost everything and frankly are of a size where they are useful and competitive with any spinning disk for most desktop applications. Now, people with huge data like video and audio and the like may still need a drive or two in the home (or on the Internet somewhere, if they have a fast enough network), but the days of huge, mostly empty hard drives spinning 24/7 are coming to an end.

This might change culture a little bit. I do like the ability to hold a lot of data myself, but most people don't want to bother with it. This brings up a lot of obvious concerns about privacy, and that's going to be a war the drive manufacturers will be fighting with their own enterprise arms who want to sell drives to the data centers and cloud services that will be providing storage to the desktop users. Of course, the data won't be "yours" any more, it'll be a licensed copy streamed to your computer over iSCSI type connection.. That's what they all want now: Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Time Warner, Comcast, etc.

Re:Or wait.. (1)

inKubus (199753) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323958)

it wont be long before you can put a 10TB SSD in your laptop and never have to worry again (well, except for loosing it)

Why are you worried about loosing it? Is there something on there the world should be afraid of? Should we all live in fear of the data to be unleashed? Are we all going to be affected when you let it loose?

Re:Or wait.. (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324282)

and...?

I don't see how the existence of large SSD invalidates the hybrid drive. What can invalidate the hybrid drive is if it does not deliver on its performance claims. Previous incarnations didn't, but maybe Seagate has something. If they can deliver a good percentage speed increase that beats the increase in cost, then they have something. Most files don't need SSD-like speeds, if the commonly used boot and application files are on SSD portion, then that would provide most of what I want on SSD without requiring that I buy a $1000 drive to get an SSD that meets my capacity needs when a $120 could have done the job almost as well.

A 10TB portable SSD is roughly five years away yet. We'll see by then whether the costs are competitive or not. We'll also see then how much data storage needs scale up then.

Prices here: (1)

olddotter (638430) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323510)

I read through the article to see the prices:
"The initial three drives in the Seagate Momentus XT line-up will retail for $156 (500GB), $132 (320GB), and 250GB ($113). Those prices equate to roughly $0.31 to $0.45 per gigabyte, which puts these drive within striking distance of a standard HD in terms of price and much less expensive than any SSD."

This looks interesting enough for me to look into the compatibility with my MacBook Pro. Anyone with a MacBook Pro had sizing problems when replacing the hard drive? I imagine the size tolerance to be tiny in the modern MacBooks.

Re:Prices here: (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324374)

No, they have a flexible rubber insert to hold the screw heads & the drive. So there's definitely room for variation.

However, I can't imagine that they would be built outside of typical spec for laptop hard drives.

A glaring omission by Seagate (1)

Lucas123 (935744) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323562)

When I read specifications on a drive, one of the key things I look for is IOPS and read/write speeds. But Seagate seems to have omitted that. I wonder why?

Re:A glaring omission by Seagate (4, Informative)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323902)

They haven't been omitted. You need to read the second link. IOPs and read/write speeds are about 1/3 and 2/3 of the way down the page, respectively.

3rd run (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32323656)

Throughout the article, the reviewer praises the abilities of the hybrid drive--after the 3rd run, which provides the drive with enough data accesses for it to predict what data will be checked next and pre-load it into the solid-state memory. However, on the first run, and on larger operations, the drive performs just like the normal 7200 rpm drive that it effectively is.

This hybrid drive certainly is a jump up over traditional HDDs, but I'm glad they benchmarked the drive against a true SSD as well--a quick glance over the graphs and the pure SSD seemed to be about twice as fast as the hybrid drive on several occasions. I chuckled when I first saw the graph on this page:

http://hothardware.com/Articles/Seagate-Momentus-XT-Solid-State-Hybrid-Preview/?page=7

Point is, if you're splashing out money to get a faster drive, get a "budget" SSD, not a budget-conscious traditional hard drive. Even the budget ones are miles above a standard or even a hybrid HDD, and the first-generation issues have been resolved (the disk controller problem being the main one) as far as I am aware.

For the same money you're spending for this hybrid drive, you could just get a massive standard high-speed drive and not be crippled for space. Or if you are spending the money, get a smaller-sized SSD and put your data files (*that's* why you have a 1TB drive currently, your 200GB mp3 collection and 600GB of "other" files) on an external drive, where speed isn't as much of a concern as web browsing or FPSs.

I went for the latter option: I picked up an Intel X25-M, and it's unquestionably rejuvenated a *4* year old laptop for daily use. It's faster than my friends' computers that are half that age, and I fully expect to get a couple extra years of service out of it because of that upgrade.

And some of the other graphs aren't very fair to SSDs, either--they're done on a logarithmic scale instead of a normal one. Transferring 200 MB/s is twice as fast as 100 MB/s, not something like 20% faster (which is what it seems at first glance). The continued dominance of the SSD in the tests is minimized by the choice in graphing.

Software / OS hacks (4, Interesting)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323700)

Seems like you could do better if you simply could reorder the files on your traditional hard disk so that you'd get 100% readahead buffer hits. If properly optimized this way, your traditional hard disk should always be transferring near the max block read rate of ~100MB/s

I'm guessing this is what some of the boot profilers / optimizers are doing.

The readahead utility used by Redhat / Fedora (and also available for Debian) gives you some benefit loading lots of small files from the disk by reordering reads by inode number to minimize head seeks. The next major benefit would be if it could actually reorganize all those files into a single tarfile, and maybe even compress it a bit, so it can do a single large block read to get all that content off of disk and into RAM cache.

This is the wrong place for this optimization (2, Interesting)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323758)

Filesystems have a much better idea of what data is going to be used frequently. This is an optimization they should be making. Seagate can make some good guesses by looking at block-level IO statistics, but that's like trying to optimize bytecode, all the really useful information is gone by the time you get to block-level IO.

I think hardware vendors should be supporting more interesting experimentation on the filesystem front instead of coming up with proprietary hacks like this that are basically a half solution.

Re:This is the wrong place for this optimization (4, Interesting)

inKubus (199753) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324248)

What if this drive could show up as two devices and a control driver and the driver allows a very fast copy between the two (without using SATA to the mobo)? SCSI has control drivers, used for scanners, tape libraries, etc. It wouldn't be to hard to graft a few controls into this drive and then have out of band front-line to nearline migration that happens on the disk autonomously.

Re:This is the wrong place for this optimization (1)

hatemonger (1671340) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324518)

From the benchmarking [tomshardware.com] , you're right. It's a faster HDD than other HDD's, but nowhere near the performance of an SSD. Labeling it as an SSD/HDD hybrid is misleading and wrong.

System drive / storage drive? (1)

l0xin (1774918) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323778)

It sounds pointless to me, however the manufacturers obviously see padding out the transitional market as a potential reward generator. But really, I got an 80GB Intel X-25M (one of the highest performing SSD's) for £120 at the beginning of the year. That's really not expensive for the performance increase / noise reduction / energy saving boost it gives (which is fairly awesome), and 80GB is easily enough for me to use as a system drive, leaving an HDD as storage. It wouldn't surprised me to find out that a lot of users that shun an SSD for a larger capacity HDD as their system drive, never actually USE the extra space.

Huh? (1)

Whispers_in_the_dark (560817) | more than 4 years ago | (#32323974)

FTA: "To put it simply, the most commonly accessed data on the platters get's copied to the much higher performing, SLC Flash memory, which results in a performance boost." Read more: http://hothardware.com/Articles/Seagate-Momentus-XT-Solid-State-Hybrid-Preview/?page=2#ixzz0orEbgttB [hothardware.com] This makes no sense to me -- that would seem to imply the most likely thing to end up on the SSD is my swap partition, which is the last thing I want on SSD. Yeah, read would be faster, but the wear would be awful. Maybe I'm missing something. I'd probably be happier if it just exposed the 4GB as a different partition...

Re:Huh? (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324554)

Actually, the whole point behind ReadyBoost was to put the swap data on a flash drive because it gave such a large perceived increase in system performance. Doing thousands of tiny random read/writes to even a slow USB flash drive is better than doing it to a platter...

Durability and Power (3, Insightful)

Johnny Mnemonic (176043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324174)

This drive still suffers from the historical bugaboo of spinning platters: it is damaged by shock. Also, it has the power draw (and heat output) of other spinning media.

Those are the two biggest reasons for SSD, especially in notebooks. Performance improvements are a factor, but I think they're the least interesting. In this respect, Seagate still needs to bring an answer, and they need to do it fast to justify their run up in stock price.

Response time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32324274)

The response time seems to be just as crappy as a ordinary hdd. Horrible.

Why a log scale at HotHardware? (1)

fljmayer (985663) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324316)

The logarithmic scale in the graph at the HotHardware link is really confusing. I think a linear scale would show the differences between the drives much better.

Just go grab 4 of these... (1)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324376)

and run then in RAID 10, that beat budget SSD at any time with a large storage for applications. No longer worry about "pre-configuration" in Windows. Just install and run.

Worst of both worlds? (0, Flamebait)

Hythlodaeus (411441) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324564)

Not only would this still have the noise of a physically spinning platter, and still have long seek times for anything outside the cache, but it would also wear out the rewrite capacity of the flash part with frequent cache filling.

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