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New Seagate Hybrid Drives Hampered By Slow Mechanical Guts

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the not-unlike-an-aging-robocop dept.

Data Storage 130

crookedvulture writes "Seagate announced its third-generation hybrid drives last month, revealing a full family of notebook and desktop drives that combine mechanical platters with solid-state storage. These so-called SSHDs are Seagate's first to be capable of caching write requests in addition to reads, and the mobile variants are already selling online. Unfortunately, a closer look at the Laptop Thin SSHD reveals some problems with Seagate's new design. While the integrated flash cache reduces OS and application load times by 30-45%, overall performance appears to be held back by its 5,400-RPM mechanical component. Seagate's last-gen Momentus XT hybrid spins its platters at 7,200-RPM, and it's faster than the new SSHD in a wide range of tests. The upcoming desktop SSHDs will also have 7,200-RPM spindle speeds, so they may prove more appealing than the mobile models."

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Hey, Seagate: (3, Funny)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#43351729)

2000 called, they want their crappy hardware back.

Re:Hey, Seagate: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43351907)

Really? Mechanical drives with massive caches that behave as if they were SSDs existed 13 years ago?

Re:Hey, Seagate: (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#43351931)

Whoosh... or douche?

I'll let the reader be the judge.

Re:Hey, Seagate: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43352153)

He's just an obtuse fucking nerd that furthers the stereotype about computer-people.

Re:Hey, Seagate: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43352099)

There will always be crappy hardware as long as people keep paying for it.

Re:Hey, Seagate: (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352245)

2000 called, they want their crappy hardware back.

Actually, this kind of thing has preceded every major storage advance in computers. As the replacement technology matures and becomes mainstream, the producers of the legacy technology cut corners on quality in order to maximize profit ahead of decommissioning of their production facilities for that technology. Zip disks, floppies, consumer tape drives, etc. All of these had major quality control issues near the end of their production runs. You would be hard-pressed to find a technology in this field that as it sunsets doesn't have its quality turn to absolute crap.

What Seagate is doing here is an attempt at prolonging that period to maximize profits on its existing (mechanical drive) production lines by gluing a turbo-charger onto the I/O equivalent of a four banger. They figure the consumers are idiots and will fall for four color marketing glossies saying these are the "fastest mechanical drives ever!" and boldly print the percentages all over the packaging... and then praying they don't look an aisle over and realize that a modest SSD would blow it out of the water for not much more cash. You can bet these drives are not built to the same specs or tolerances of previous models -- they will fail more often, and because of their hybrid nature, will be more difficult to recover data from when they do, if you can recover anything at all.

It's a douche move, but... it's sound business practice. Sell your customers down a river to keep profits up until you can turn up production on the Next Big Thing, and then try to buy them back later with discounts and deals.

Re:Hey, Seagate: (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352639)

Their hybrid nature does not affect data recovery. All the onboard SSD does is cache data that exists on the HDD.

Re:Hey, Seagate: (4, Interesting)

nabsltd (1313397) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353339)

Their hybrid nature does not affect data recovery. All the onboard SSD does is cache data that exists on the HDD.

There is no way to know what will happen to the overall usability of the drive if the flash fails (either through normal write exhaustion or catastrophic failure).

Hopefully, Seagate did the right thing in this case and the drive would turn into the equivalent of a pure mechanical drive. But, failure of the flash or its controller might cause the drive to become completely unusable. Unless they specifically deal with this as a "special" failure mode, it wouldn't be that different from some essential part of the controller on a purely mechanical drive failing (like the DRAM cache), and that usually turns the drive into a doorstop.

Re:Hey, Seagate: (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353405)

This is a mostly moot argument. If you are relying on one drive for your data, you are doing it VERY wrong. In a proper setup, the user would restore from backup and move on. If the drive had high value data, and no backups, you send the platters off to specialist recovery. The only people your scenario would affect are ones who deserve it.

Re:Hey, Seagate: (1)

smash (1351) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354151)

1. It is SLC NAND and far more reliable than consumer SSD style MLC. 2. Pretty sure anandtech did a piece on them mentioning that NAND failure results in regular spinning drive behaviour.

Re:Hey, Seagate: (4, Interesting)

plover (150551) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352669)

Certainly, technology producers change their designs as they go, making them cheaper and cheaper until they just barely stay within the lower end of their specs. It's called "optimization", and it's the responsible thing for a manufacturer to do for its shareholders. Same volume, same price, higher return on investment. If you don't personally like it, you can pay more for a device with better lower-end specs from someone else.

In the case of hard drives, Seagate knows that 5,400 RPM machines are far more reliable than 7,200 RPM machines, even after optimization of both. I suspect that in order to make 7,200 RPM drives more durable, the manufacturing costs exceeded that of SSDs. And if 7,200 RPM drives can't be made more reliable for an affordable price, I expect that is why Seagate is dropping them completely.

Hybrids are a way to sell a slightly faster version of the mechanical drive for people on a budget who still need reliability. No, it's not going to out-perform a 7,200 RPM drive, but over time it will do better than a 5,400 RPM drive without a cache. If you want performance, spend the extra money for a real SSD. If you want cheap speed without reliability, you'll have to buy a faster drive from someone else.

Re:Hey, Seagate: (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352797)

It's called "optimization", and it's the responsible thing for a manufacturer to do for its shareholders. Same volume, same price, higher return on investment. If you don't personally like it, you can pay more for a device with better lower-end specs from someone else.

Are you some kind of capitalist apologist or something? I never offered an opinion on whether I like it or not, I was simply pointing out that this is what businesses do.

Same volume, same price, higher return on investment. If you don't personally like it, you can pay more for a device with better lower-end specs from someone else.

Perhaps you didn't read carefully enough my previous comment: All the manufacturers of mechanical drives are going to be doing the same thing. There isn't anyone else to buy these magical unicorns you speak of from.

And if 7,200 RPM drives can't be made more reliable for an affordable price, I expect that is why Seagate is dropping them completely.

As has been covered before, reliability is not what is driving these changes [slashdot.org] .

Hybrids are a way to sell a slightly faster version of the mechanical drive for people on a budget who still need reliability.

Lolwut? You're taking the exact same product, gluing it to another product, and that improves reliability? What planet are you from where increasing the complexity of a device improves reliability? Engineers, software and mechanical, rely on the KISS principle for a reason -- it makes troubleshooting easier, and it improves reliability. Complexity is antithetical to reliability. If you want a classic example of how complex design can cause all kinds of reliability issues, look at the LOX engines on the space shuttle. Some of the most complex machinery ever designed -- and it was built top-down, not bottom-up. And every engineer who worked on it will tell you, they honestly don't know all the possible failure conditions because of that. It's simply too complex.

Re:Hey, Seagate: (3, Interesting)

plover (150551) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354087)

And why are the magical unicorns going extinct? No demand. People on a budget buy a slow drive, people who can afford slightly more buy an SSD hybrid, people who have the means and require the performance buy an expensive SSD. If Seagate saw there was a market for expensive yet still slow 7,200 RPM drives, they'd keep making them. (Actually they still do have a few, it's their corporate customers who are too large and slow to make a more rational decision.)

Sorry I wasn't clear about the reliability thing. Seagate's 5,200 RPM drives have twice the reliability when compared to their 7,200 RPM drives (the Annual Failure Rate is predicted at 0.48%[1] vs 1.065%[2]), and the difference made by adding the complexity of a cache gives them a predicted AFR of only 0.50%. And reliability is absolutely driving this: if they have to double the reliability of their 7,200 RPM drives, they will cost more than plain old SSDs (also at 0.50% AFR[1]).

[1] http://origin-www.seagate.com/internal-hard-drives/laptop-hard-drives/ [seagate.com]
[2] http://origin-www.seagate.com/internal-hard-drives/enterprise-hard-drives/hdd/enterprise-value-hdd/ [seagate.com]

7200RPM less reliable than 5400? (1)

King_TJ (85913) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354009)

Umm.... can you cite any hard evidence this is really true?

You're absolutely right about the "optimization" of product lines that takes place. No argument there at all. But as far as I've been able to tell, 5400RPM drives are only around still because they're a little bit cheaper to build. Out of many hundreds of hard drives I've used over the years, I can't say I've ever felt like the 7200RPM models were less reliable?

Now, I do remember those Seagate Barracuda 10K and 15K RPM high performance SCSI drives having a lot of issues. (Bearing failures from overheating, usually.) But I doubt you're seeing a 5400RPM platter in these hybrid drives for reliability reasons. (Frankly, Seagate doesn't impress me anyway as a company that gives top concerns to reliability.... I've had more of their drives fail on me than any other brand, by a pretty big margin -- including multiple times they had firmware issues leading to premature failure in specific models.)

Re:7200RPM less reliable than 5400? (2)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354127)

5400 rpm models use less power than 7200 models. In a notebook everything is about power usage and physical size, and I guess speed too.

I have 4TB 5400 rpm drives in my raid because my network is the bottleneck for speed anyway, and the cooler the drives run, the better (there is 5 of them).

Re:7200RPM less reliable than 5400? (1)

plover (150551) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354389)

I just posted it above, but here it is again. Seagate's own published reliability information shows their 7200 RPM drives fail more than twice as often as either their 5400 RPM drives or their hybrid drives, and their SSDs are even more reliable.

Seagate's 5400 RPM and 5400 RPM hybrid drives fail annually at 0.48% and 0.50% respectively. [seagate.com]
Their Pulsar SSD drives have an AFR of 0.44% [seagate.com]
Their 7200 RPM 'enterprise value' drives have an AFR of 1.065% [seagate.com]

Re:7200RPM less reliable than 5400? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43354729)

You're comparing apples with oranges. The AFR for the enterprise drives is based on 24/7 operation, Seagate consumer drives are designed for eight hour a day operation, so the enterprise has a lower rate of failure per hour of operation.

Just look at the data sheet for the Momentus drives and you will see that the AFR for the 5400 and 7200 rpm versions are identical. http://origin-www.seagate.com/files/www-content/product-content/momentus-fam/momentus-laptop/en-us/docs/momentus-family-ds1701-8-1303us.pdf

Re:Hey, Seagate: (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353153)

Not sure that it applies here.

HDDs are mature, but aren't going to be obsolete for awhile yet.
SSDs are new and finally becoming affordable.

Seagate managed to take a well established technology, blend it in with the new technology, and make both somewhat worse.
Thats just a bog standard fail.

Re:Hey, Seagate: (3, Interesting)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353283)

and then praying they don't look an aisle over and realize that a modest SSD would blow it out of the water for not much more cash.

Only if they don't need the storage capacity of the spinning hard drive... many laptops don't have the room for both an SSD and a hard drive.

The smallest Seagate SSHD is 500GB and costrs around $99. The cheapest 500GB SSD I can find costs around $350.

So, for those that need the higher capacity, you can't get an SSD for "not much more cash".

So yes, an SSD would have much better performance, but not equivalent capacity at the same price point. For the kinds of things most people use a laptop for (booting windows, loading apps) the SSHD gives close to SSD performance, while still letting them keep their large media files on the hard drive

It's a douche move, but... it's sound business practice. Sell your customers down a river to keep profits up until you can turn up production on the Next Big Thing, and then try to buy them back later with discounts and deals.

Slower speeds aren't just a cost cutting move - cutting the speed reduces noise, power consumption (so you get better battery life on your laptop) and lowers heat production (so you get better reliability for your hard drive).

Re:Hey, Seagate: (1)

smash (1351) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354169)

Yup, exact reason i have a Momentus XT 750. Sure, an SSD would be faster. At not providing the capacity I require... causing me to spend more of my time fucking around moving files between it and an external drive (essentially, doing a poor job of SSD/HD caching manually on a per-folder level rather than per block).

Re:Hey, Seagate: (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352355)

1997 called. They want their "(Now - X years) called" joke back.

Re:Hey, Seagate: (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352461)

1997 called. They want their "(Now - X years) called" joke back.

^
Just mad cuz you didn't think of it first :P

Re:Hey, Seagate: (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43352359)

2000 called, they want their crappy hardware back.

2000 called? Did you warn them about Katrina? 9/11? No? You dick!

(Oblig. xkcd)

Re:Hey, Seagate: (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352541)

There was a discussion of this decision of Seagate's, back when it was announced. As much as I hate to say "I told you so"... I told you so. Going back to 5400 RPM was a bonehead move.

Re:Hey, Seagate: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43354071)

As much as I hate to say "I told you so"...

Fuck off, you love saying "I told you so".

Re:Hey, Seagate: (1)

TheLink (130905) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354843)

Other than the bootup and game tests, the tests don't seem to test the caching ability as much.

The file copying tests should have been done more than once from the drive to the drive itself. Or from the drive to a ramdisk.

Laptop 7200rpm drives discontinued (2)

SpaceManFlip (2720507) | about a year and a half ago | (#43351737)

This is because they recently announced the discontinuation of their entire lineup of 7200rpm drives in the 2.5" form factor.

Desktop drives in 3.5" size still have the 7200rpm drive speeds, so the smaller ones have been gimped by Seagate's mfr'ing decision

Re:Laptop 7200rpm drives discontinued (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43351911)

WTF? What does Seagate have against nice things?

Re:Laptop 7200rpm drives discontinued (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43352167)

2.5" SATA hard drives at 7200 RPM have no future. Anyone who's willing to pony up for something faster than 5400 is going to buy a SSD.

Re:Laptop 7200rpm drives discontinued (1)

Mike Frett (2811077) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352611)

Except me. I'll stick to real Hard Drives until I'm forced to buy into SSD. I just don't trust SSD right now, I've seen too many failures and too many comments about issues. But I have zero problems switching when that's all worked out.

That's just the way I am, I stick to things that just work until they aren't available anymore. I always choose stability and reliability over the newest component. It's got nothing to do with being afraid of change.

Re:Laptop 7200rpm drives discontinued (3, Informative)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352651)

You dont trust ANY 'disk drive'. You backup and recover, just like any other storage medium. Trust doesnt even enter the equation.

Re:Laptop 7200rpm drives discontinued (1)

smash (1351) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354177)

That. All drives are unreliable.

Re:Laptop 7200rpm drives discontinued (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43354343)

Then you're making terrible technical decisions.

You will never, ever go back to traditional hard disk drives after using an SSD. But if you think that either technology is reliable enough to be used without a good backup strategy, you're better off picking lettuce for a living.

Re:Laptop 7200rpm drives discontinued (1)

flargleblarg (685368) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354523)

Mod parent up! Awesome.

Battery Life? (4, Insightful)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | about a year and a half ago | (#43351943)

See the current Slashdot poll about laptops. The winning request is better battery life. How much extra juice does it take to spin those platters at 7200RPM? Perhaps Seagate's manufacturing decision to use 5400 is better informed than it appears.

Re:Battery Life? (1)

Applekid (993327) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352097)

See the current Slashdot poll about laptops. The winning request is better battery life. How much extra juice does it take to spin those platters at 7200RPM? Perhaps Seagate's manufacturing decision to use 5400 is better informed than it appears.

I would instead urge hard drive manufacturers to take a page from the CPU manufacturers and get busy on a variable speed hard drive. I see no reason why a hard drive can't just putt putt around at a slow speed and ramp up that speed if the IO queue starts filling faster than it can be emptied.

Re:Battery Life? (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352249)

I know YOU see no reason for not having vari speed in mechanics.

then again, its very clear to me that you have no clue how the electronics, clocking and mechanics would DO that.

maybe, just maybe, its not do-able within reason.

varispeed is marketing BS. it makes no sense to vary platter speed. stupid idea, in fact!

Re:Battery Life? (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352263)

I see no reason why a hard drive can't just putt putt around at a slow speed and ramp up that speed if the IO queue starts filling faster than it can be emptied.

Does anyone know why this has not been done more already, especially in laptop drives? There has been some "eco" desktop 3.5" drives that can lower their speed when idle, but not much else.

Re:Battery Life? (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352385)

I see no reason why a hard drive can't just putt putt around at a slow speed and ramp up that speed if the IO queue starts filling faster than it can be emptied.

Does anyone know why this has not been done more already, especially in laptop drives? There has been some "eco" desktop 3.5" drives that can lower their speed when idle, but not much else.

Seagate Barracuda ST3000DM001 (3TB 7200RPM) spin down to conserve power, unless you use power management tool to tell them to remain spinning at all times.

Re:Battery Life? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43353583)

I haven't found a single hard drive that's not already capable of doing that.

Re:Battery Life? (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354083)

there are no drives that change their speed other than idle vs run-mode.

and that does not count; its just a standby mode. data transfer does not happen at 'slower speed' idle.

so again, the marketing guys fooled you.

Re:Battery Life? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43354485)

Simple really. The flight height of the hard drive heads are tuned to the specific rotational rate of the drive. Change the RPM substantially and the heads fly at the wrong height, and your drive doesn't work anymore.

Drives that go to a slower speed while idling have to park the heads off the disk to prevent the heads from crashing into the disks at the lower speeds.

Re:Battery Life? (2)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352475)

I see no reason why a hard drive can't just putt putt around at a slow speed and ramp up that speed if the IO queue starts filling faster than it can be emptied.

I thought I had read that WD's green drive did exactly that.

Re:Battery Life? (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354091)

its false. dig deeper and you find that 'vari speed' is just a lie and there is only data transfer at the single speed.

idling does NOT count.

WD lied.

Re:Battery Life? (4, Informative)

BLToday (1777712) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352131)

"How much extra juice does it take to spin those platters at 7200RPM? "

From my experience with their 1st-gen Momentus XT (500GB), about 15% reduction in overall battery life compare to my previous 5400 rpm drive.

Re:Battery Life? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352583)

"Perhaps Seagate's manufacturing decision to use 5400 is better informed than it appears."

In an era where users expect new hardware to consistently outperform the older models, no, 5400 RPM is not "better informed".

Backwards is backwards. Before they announced this decision, I was going to get a Momentus to replace the drive I have. Now, there is no way in hell I'll spend that money. My existing drive probably performs better. I'll just get an SSD instead. More money, but it's actually BETTER.

Re:Battery Life? (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352753)

See the current Slashdot poll about laptops. The winning request is better battery life. How much extra juice does it take to spin those platters at 7200RPM? Perhaps Seagate's manufacturing decision to use 5400 is better informed than it appears.

Perhaps laptop companies should be switching to SSD's then, I nearly tripled the battery life on my 3yr old laptop which had a 5400rpm in it. Yes I know there are still reliability problems with them, but being realistic? The price for a 2.5" SSD at 120-240GB which is still semi-standard in a lot of common laptops, would seriously improve the battery life.

Re:Battery Life? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43353599)

There's just as many, if not more, reliability problems with a spinning platter drive in a portable device.

Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43351741)

Hybrid drives are a shitty stop-gap. I can't wait for terabyte SSDs to get cheap.

Re:Yawn (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352077)

Hybrid drives are a shitty stop-gap. I can't wait for terabyte SSDs to get cheap.

It disgusts me that you would even think of computing with silicon. I'm holding out for hypersentient quantum computronium...

Re:Yawn (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352393)

I'm holding out for hypersentient quantum computronium...

I wonder if it would be inherently "hypersentient" (whatever the fuck that means) or would only become so after your mindstate's been uploaded to it... :p

Re:Yawn (1)

Molochi (555357) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352915)

I think Superintelligent Shades of the Color Blue keep them (HQPs) as pets.

Re:Yawn (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353007)

lol, nice! I know that sounds distinctly familiar; Douglas Adams?

semi serious question (3, Interesting)

scream at the sky (989144) | about a year and a half ago | (#43351745)

Why are we not seeing more 10K drives? Other than the WD Raptors, I haven't seen 10K desktop drives in forever.

I would think it would be a better compromise, am I missing something?

Re:semi serious question (0)

lesincompetent (2836253) | about a year and a half ago | (#43351795)

They're too busy saving energy... goddamn treehuggers!

Re:semi serious question (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353297)

In all seriousness, I never really got that, HDD uses like a whopping 20w, compared to the rest of the computer that's nothing.

Re:semi serious question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43353663)

My living room computer has 6 HDDs and one 65W-rated Llano CPU (it typically uses less than 20W). I can assure you the power consumption of hard drives is not "nothing".

Re:semi serious question (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354013)

Well MOST people here won't be running six drives.
If you're drawing say 400watts under load the an extra 20 from the HDD won't mean jack.

Re:semi serious question (1)

smash (1351) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354201)

Depends on the computer and its usage. MAX TDP of a modern desktop CPU may be about 100 watts give or take, but when its running 99% idle most of the time the consumption is a lot less than that. My laptop for example generally consumes around 10-15 watts for the entire box. If you run multiple drives in RAID for speed or better reliability, drive consumption will be a much more significant portion of overall consumption.

Re:semi serious question (4, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | about a year and a half ago | (#43351843)

Noise issues, power issues, and the likelihood that cheapening SSD will make magnetic disks obsolete. People who really care about speed just go solid state. With the price dropping I'm sure we all will in a few years.

Re:semi serious question (4, Informative)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year and a half ago | (#43351895)

Why are we not seeing more 10K drives?

Only reason I can think of is direct competition with top-shelf scsi hardware. a 900G 10K SCSI [amazon.com] is about $500 bucks. I sure would be tempted to RAID twice as many 10K SATA for half that price if I could get the same RPM.

Re:semi serious question (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352755)

I sure would be tempted to RAID twice as many 10K SATA for half that price if I could get the same RPM.

Short-stroking 7.2k drives is cheaper and you will outperform 10K drives all day.

We used to short stroke 10k/15k drives, but SSDs have taken over those jobs.

Re:semi serious question (5, Informative)

dlakelan (43245) | about a year and a half ago | (#43351903)

Higher density at constant speed means higher signalling rates now vs before. We're already reading more off the disk per second at 7200 rpm than we were at 7200 rpm back when 200GB was big. Power requirements have taken a bigger position, and also at the higher densities tolerances need to be more exact and even more so at higher speeds. Going to lower spinning speeds allows you to get better results without tightening tolerances as much.

Re:semi serious question (1)

scream at the sky (989144) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352129)

higher density at 10K would still give tremendous rewards though.

Admittedly, it would just be a stop gap, eventually SSD will be everything, I get that, but in the mean time I would like to see Seagate and WD do what they do really well, rather than give us half baked solutions like these hybrid drives.

Re:semi serious question (1)

plover (150551) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352851)

They're just adding another choice that appeals to a certain segment of the market. They have cheap, reliable, and slow 5,400 RPM drives; slightly more expensive, just as reliable, and slightly faster 5,400 RPM hybrid drives; or slightly more expensive and crazy fast SSDs. 10K drives are as expensive as SSDs, yet far slower than SSDs and only slightly more reliable than the cheap 5,400 RPM drives. There's not a big value proposition for the 10K drives, and the market isn't really looking for them.

By the way, we did an analysis on a set of twenty-four enterprise class 15,000-RPM Cheetah drives installed in developer workstations. They have a published MTBF of 1,200,000 hours, yet we lost eight of the 24 drives (25%) within 50,000 hours, all suffering catastrophic failure at less than 5% of their claimed life. High speed and high price did not automatically guarantee reliability. (And their published MTBF should have been found in the "fiction" category.)

Re:semi serious question (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352861)

"Higher density at constant speed means higher signalling rates now vs before. We're already reading more off the disk per second at 7200 rpm than we were at 7200 rpm back when 200GB was big. Power requirements have taken a bigger position, and also at the higher densities tolerances need to be more exact and even more so at higher speeds. Going to lower spinning speeds allows you to get better results without tightening tolerances as much."

You might as well have just said: $$$.

Re:semi serious question (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year and a half ago | (#43351957)

Because 10K RPM drives command a high MTBF rate. You're not going to find those except in SAS.

Re:semi serious question (2)

scream at the sky (989144) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352121)

I get that, but I also see the flip side where 10K drives have typically been aimed at Enterprise, rather than consumer business.

I have a pair of ancient 74 gig raptors that I use for the boot system (raid 0) on my home NAS, and I love the disks. I'd love to see some consumer grade 10K drives with a standard warranty.

And, yes, I have SSD in my laptop, and I agree that spinning platters have a limited number of days, but for a company like Seagate who is pussying around with these hybrid drives, it would make sense for them to do what they do well, instead of half assing something, and giving us half a solution.

Re:semi serious question (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352877)

Actually, WD had some consumer 10k drives out... probably still does.

Re:semi serious question (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353811)

Raptors. I know because I had a pair in RAID0. The problem was that it they don't support TLER. Thus one of the drives would randomly drop offline. In fact, WD specifically will not support RAID with consumer based drives. As I know, at least Hitatchi drives supported TLER for all drives. Sounds like WD crippled their drives to force market segmentation.

Re:semi serious question (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43351959)

more expensive to make, makes slightly more noise. in a laptop they burn more power too(well on desktop as well but on laptop it matters).
I guess the market on that has gone to ssd's at up front and slower drives at back.
So seagate bundled a nominal amount of crap ssd with slow drives an called it a day and suckers bought 'em - because technically on paper it's great, right? best of both worlds? or shit from both?

when they plaster allover on their "tech specs" that it's a hybrid drive with ssd but would rather tell how much cache it is than the fact that it has measly 8 gigs of ssd you know that something is up. I mean, these drives might have some point in them if they had 60 gig or so ssd portions. but 8? you can fit the os on that, so you boot faster - if you're doing sequential boots and nothing else.

Re:semi serious question (1)

gagol (583737) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352275)

Even Windows don't read 8GB of data on boot. My Linux boot in no time on an old 5400 RPM drive. Blame software bloat, not hardware.

Re:semi serious question (1)

Logger (9214) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354159)

Why does everyone keeping thinking you have to have enough flash to store the whole os? Hybrids are sector based, not file or application based. They only needs to cache the frequently used bits in flash. Which might not even be a whole file.

If they are real clever (and I'm not saying they are), they could hide the seek time for a file by putting the first few sectors in flash. That would allow the drive time to find the rest of the file on disk.

There is obviously a cost performance tradeoff here. How much flash is needed to achieve a desired performance level can not be derived simply by using data from pairing an SSD with and HDD. It is also a function of the caching algorithm used.

There are only two things that can be surmised for sure about this drive. It's large file sequential transfer rate is going to be slower than a 7200 rpm drive. And pure random accesses will be slower than an SSD, because you can't fit everything into those 8GB of flash.

So, obviously if you are doing those two tasks a lot, this is a poor drive for you. On the other hand, that doesn't sound like a typical work load for the average user.

The only fault I find for this drive is they don't offer a 7200 rpm model in the 2.5" form factor. Was that a good decision? I don't know. They will might lose out on some aftermarket sales because of it. But then again, if those aftermarket purchases were so concerned with performance maybe those were going to be pure SSD sales anyways. I'm guessing this compromise is what Dell, Acer, HP, Samsung, and company were asking for.

So, if I had the cash to upgrade my laptop to 750 GB SSD, I'd do that. But I'm seriously thinking of giving one of these a try. I'd buy a 7200 rpm model if it existed in the 2.5" form factor, but this still has the potential to be a lot faster than the 5400 rpm drive I have now.

Re:semi serious question (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352063)

Why are we not seeing more 10K drives? Other than the WD Raptors, I haven't seen 10K desktop drives in forever.

I would think it would be a better compromise, am I missing something?

10Ks on the desktop(and, at least to some degree, although less of one, 10 and 15Ks in the enterprise) have been curb-stomped by SSDs, actually harder than their slower brethren.

Everybody knows that 5.4s and 7.2s are horribly slow, for everything except very well behaved linear reads or writes; but they are insanely capacious and cheap, so people who don't need speed buy them anyway, and by the truckload. On the consumer end, cheap shit sells by the pallet, and needs something to boot from, and on the enterprise side the (partial) unification of SAS and SATA means that a lot of stuff that you used to have to dump right to tape can now be handed off to crazy-cheap 'nearline' HDD storage(and, in sufficient quantity, a lot of less demanding storage tasks are perfectly fine on prosaic 7.2K SATA, and since SATA drives drop right into SAS slots/connectors, they all play nicely with the RAID backplanes and hot-swap trays and things, which wasn't the case back in the PATA/SCSI days).

Among people who need I/O above all, any mechanical drive is an amusing little smudge clinging to the X axis when graphed against the performance of any halfway decent SSD. When a good SSD can easily be several orders of magnitude faster, the fact that you might(best case) triple performance by going from 5.4k to 15k barely registers; but the price of increasing spindle speeds certainly does.

Velociraptors, and their ilk, had a brief period of popularity back when all the 15Ks were SCSI(and so were either wildly expensive, or dodgy fleabay gear, and usually needed an add-on card that cost more than most consumer hard drives, even used) and SSDs were either nonexistent or more expensive than entire workstations. Now, they just aren't a terribly impressive offering. If you don't care much, you can get a rather larger and quieter HDD for substantially less money. If you do care, a surprisingly small premium will get you an SSD that will blow the Velociraptor out of the water.

The gulf between good solid state storage and mechanical storage, in terms of latency, is just so enormous that we will probably see more retreating from higher spindle speeds than advancing. High precision, high reliability mechanical parts are stubbornly costly, so increasing spindle speeds isn't free; but the performance gap is sufficiently vast that even some terrifying HDD built with ultracentrifuge technology just isn't going to be as fast as an SSD. Flash prices are still high enough that HDDs have plenty of retreating room into high capacity/high latency applications; but any attempt to achieve parity in low-latency work would just be comedic(if probably impressive from an engineering standpoint, and when it tore itself apart and shredded everything nearby)...

Re:semi serious question (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352095)

1. Those wanting the extreme performance are buying SSDs today.
2. Power demand - more electricity and thus more cooling. Some countries have passed energy standards such that they can't be sold in pre-made computers, reducing the market.
3. Density - due to the lower density the faster speed requires today, said drives often have sustained reads/writes that are slower than their larger, cheaper 7200RPM cousin.
4. Reliability - they're less reliable due to the higher speeds and heat anymore.

There's just not enough demand to keep supplying them.

Re:semi serious question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43352159)

Heat and reliability. I lost like 30% of my 10k WD Raptors over 5 years. Theres something to be said about those mondo expensive old Seagate SCSI 10ks.

Re:semi serious question (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43353809)

I lost like 50% of my WD Green drives over 2 years. It's a good thing they're dirt cheap to replace.

replaced by SSDs and 2.5" drives (1)

Chirs (87576) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352223)

10K was typically an enterprise thing. Enterprise has generally moved to either SSDs or to 2.5" drives (currently available in 10K and 15K).

The increased areal density gives decent capacity for the 2.5" drives, and the smaller platter means it's more robust, causes less vibration, and uses less power. It also takes up less space in a server.

Re:replaced by SSDs and 2.5" drives (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352395)

10K was typically an enterprise thing. Enterprise has generally moved to either SSDs or to 2.5" drives (currently available in 10K and 15K).

The increased areal density gives decent capacity for the 2.5" drives, and the smaller platter means it's more robust, causes less vibration, and uses less power. It also takes up less space in a server.

Most 10K 3.5" drives used 2.5" platters because at the speeds they spun at, there was no way a 3.5" platter would survive the rotational induced stresses. (Most of the additional bulk was used by cooling fins to help cool the platters - a good chunk of the heat a hard drive produces comes from friction... with air!)

In fact, the latest desktop 10K drives were 2.5" drives bolted to a huge heatsink (it was recommended to NOT remove the heatsink).

Due to their temperature sensitivity (they had to have good cooling) they were a limited market (servers, mostly, there were a few desktops that had it but they were limited by case designs), and relatively low capacity versus the more contemporary 7200RPM drives.

With SSDs, low capacity high speed drives were basically extinct - why buy a 320GB 10K drive when a 512GB SSD would often be cheaper (and faster, to boot).

Re:semi serious question (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352675)

SSDs are going to sweep them away in five years for everywhere but servers. HDD is pretty much a dead end at this point.

Re:semi serious question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43353485)

SSDs are going to sweep them away in five years for everywhere but storage servers.

Fixed that for you.

SSD's already in servers. Woe to conventional disks if SSDs ever reach parity on price per gigabyte.

Re:semi serious question (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352795)

Because there is no good use case for them.

256GB SSD's are less than a buck a GB and outperform a small raid set in everything but size. Put these in desktops laptops pretty much anything with a person sitting in front of it.

3TB drives are about 120 bucks, USB3 externals are nearly as fast as an internal sata one (piles of overhead as USB sucks like always) these are your bulk storage drives. Bulk servers get these combine with a SSD caching and raid to get a small raid 10 outperforming a big raid of 15's in all but extreme cases. Unless you running 10ge you can not shift the data to the device fast enough.

10k's really do not fit anywhere. 15k were to hot for desktops and to power hungry for laptops they only really fit in high end SAN/NAS boxes with huge SSD in front of them.

Re:semi serious question (1)

ltwally (313043) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352833)

Why are we not seeing more 10K drives? Other than the WD Raptors, I haven't seen 10K desktop drives in forever. I would think it would be a better compromise, am I missing something?

There are two sides to traditional hard-disk performance: rotational-speed and areal-density. While both increase performance of the disk, they do so in different ways...

Rotational Speed, measured in RPMs, primarily affects random access/seek times -- allowing the disk heads to move to a new location more quickly. This is handy when there is heavy fragmentation (which should never be allowed to happen) or when the data files themselves have lots of non-consecutive data (like in databases). Higher rotational speed will increase transfer speeds... but not nearly so much as most folks think it will. The disk access patterns for most desktop users do take enough advantage of this to make the increased cost worthwhile.

Areal Density, measured in bits/m^2 or bits/in^2, primarily effects continuous transfer speed -- you get to read/write large files more quickly. This will help you more quickly transfer files on your network (though many/most disks can easily enough saturate gigabit ethernet, these days) or load large files into memory, such as the case for video games or other applications with large resource files. Areal density does not have much of an impact on random seek times, and so those numbers haven't seen much improvement over the years. Improving areal density is something drive manufacturers have a keen interest in, as it allows them to build disks with more storage capacity, thereby decreasing the number of platters necessary for a given amount of space, and therefore dropping prices.

Also, keep in mind that, to keep friction/heat/wear-and-tear down, 10k RPM drives tend to have fewer and smaller platters than 7,200 & 5,400 RPM drives; they are hamstringed for storage space. Consider that we now have 4 TB 7,200 RPM drives on the market, but the largest 10k RPM drive is only 1 TB. And the price is about the same.

Both sides of the coin effect performance, but in different ways. Given the amount of time that 10k RPM SATA drives have been on the market, I think it's safe to say that these will never catch on, and that their price will always remain high. 15k RPM desktop drives is nothing but a pipe dream.

SSDs, on the other hand, have ludicrous transfer speeds married to access times that make a 15k RPM drives look pathetic. Their only two caveats seem to be storage space (they still can't keep with traditional hard disks on that, but they're catching up) and reliability. Though flash memory is far from ideal, we can expect both density and reliability to increase over time, even as their transfer rates continue to compete with small RAID arrays.

SSDs already outpace 10k & 15k RPM hard disks in ever measurement of speed. Given time, they will likely catch up in storage capacity and bytes-per-dollar. And, by the looks of it, that point in time is rapidly approaching.

Re:semi serious question (1)

ltwally (313043) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352881)

...The disk access patterns for most desktop users do take enough advantage of this to make the increased cost worthwhile. ...

Meant to say "The disk access patterns for most desktop users do NOT take enough advantage of this to make the increased cost worthwhile."

Someone hack an edit button onto this damn site already. Get with '90s, already.

Re:semi serious question (1)

MiSaunaSnob (2827801) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352975)

They are to loud

New Seagate product, you say? (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43351867)

I'm not interested.

Epic failure (1)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year and a half ago | (#43351877)

How the hell did this thing ever make it through the approval process? This is going to piss of their users as a basic trust issue and is borderline fraudulent. The entire point of getting a drive like this is to get something /faster/ than you would other wise get. This drive is going to be entirely dependent on a very limited number of benchmarks to get any kind of approval at all.

This is akin to selling a new sports car with a decade old engine that was outdated by the model 2 generations ago. This has got to be one of the biggest epic fails of the last couple years outside of Windows 8 itself. The advertising and marketing on this can't possibly be honest without playing lawyer and splitting hairs very finely.

Re:Epic failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43351999)

Uh, most people want their OS to boot faster and their applications to start faster. They're not likely to be running a heavily-loaded database on these things.

Re:Epic failure (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352115)

People who mindlessly jump on the bandwagon rather than checking reviews and benchmarks and comparing that to their actual needs are going to be disappointed regardless.

Re:Epic failure (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352211)

I would strongly suspect that it's an OEM thing, mostly:

Intel, for one, sets some fairly strict boot-time requirement for an OEM to be able to slap "Ultrabook!!!!" on the laptop and possibly get some Intel 'marketing assistance' cash. Microsoft has also been doing a bit of leaning on OEMs in terms of how fast Win8 machines need to boot in order to earn their little sticker of meaningless approval.

OEMs, of course, still need to shove $400 black-friday specials out the door. What will we do? Well, it just so happens that our good buddies at Seagate have a hard drive that is super cheap, being a very undemanding mechanical model with only a small amount of flash; but just so happens to be able to(if configured and pre-cached and whatnot properly) boot the OS like a bat out of hell... Seagate proceeds to sell a giant pile of the things.

Given that Seagate knows that benchmarks are going to happen, they have no realistic hope of pulling the wool over the eyes of informed enthusiasts. I'd be surprised if they care: less cost-sensitive enthusiasts are going to buy SSDs anyway, more cost-sensitive ones may well buy if the price is right, and making the spindle slow and the cache small will definitely help there.

As a strategy for launching a successful enthusiast storage brand, Seagate's choices would be suicide; but 'enthusiast storage' isn't a terribly big market anyway, and the SSD guys own it now, so Seagate doesn't have a choice about not playing there. The OEMs, on the other hand, are caught between certification demands(which generally specify boot time, resume-time, etc. not 'IOPS Random 4k' scores) and price pressures. This product looks like it is tailor-made to be pitched right at them.

Re:Epic failure (1)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353999)

Interesting answer with some good points for consideration.

Re:Epic failure (1)

RR (64484) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352441)

I don't think it's a fraud. They're not calling it a Momentus XT. It's a relatively cheap hard drive that happens to be much faster than other cheap drives at booting and launching programs, and much cheaper than SSDs of similar capacity. (Also, faster than the Momentus XT at certain tasks, while being thinner but taking more power.)

So, it turns out to be slower than a WD Scorpio Black at copying folders full of lots of big files. How often do you actually wait on that? On the other hand, it's much faster than a WD Scorpio Black at booting up and launching programs. Now, how often you do for that? I think the average person would be better served by a Laptop Thin SSHD than a Scorpio Black.

It all has to do with what you use the drive for.

Bypassed this idea... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#43351889)

When it came time to upgrade my aging desktop I went straight for SSD and as much memory as I could cram on the motherboard. Works good and is fast

Why is that a problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43352173)

I have been using a Seagate hybrid drive in my laptop for a couple years. I actually find it silly that it is a 7200 RPM drive.

Since most things are going to end up in cache, the platters are only going to be used for my media library, which will be easily faster than the read speed of a CD or DVD and even Blueray.

Limiting the power wasted by spinning a chunk of metal uselessly seems like a win to me.

Old 500 GB drive 750s are faster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43352371)

This is the old 500GB SSHD. The 750 is faster as reported by others. I just ordered the 1TB. I only wish they would bump the NAND to 16GB or 32GB. that would be very nice.

Some direct feedback (1)

Alarash (746254) | about a year and a half ago | (#43352589)

I own a Samsung Series 5 Ultrabook. I don't want to bother looking up (or flipping the device back as I type this) the exact model but it basically has got an i5@1.7Ghz, 6 GB of RAM and Windows 8 (I like it, suck it up).

I can confirm that the device boots up disturbingly fast - either from a cold boot or from Sleep. I didn't time it but it feels like ~15-25 seconds. That gets me to the Welcome screen of Windows, and I can log in instantly. But if I try to start Visual Studio right after booting, I can definitively tell - from the LED - that the 5,400 drive is a problem. Right after booting, as Windows is, I assume, starting the various services and stuff, I can really feel the pain. I don't feel that on my main PC, which has got less RAM (4 GB) but a full-fledged SSD where the OS resides.

I paid 500 euros for that Ultrabook (Amazon repackaged). And for that price, I'm happy as a clam with that PC. If I allow something like 30 or 45 seconds for the session to actually completely open, the thing is blazing fast. A 7,200 RPM drive would drain the battery quicker (I have something like 6 hours of autonomy if I'm just coding - compiling from time o time - or just web surfing). I'd rather have a 256 GB SSD, but the price of those rose 30% in the last year so that might have put my PC around the 800/900 euros price point which, to me is not worth it.

This is not an advertisement or anything, just a direct feedback from a rather happy customer understanding the pros and cons of the technologies vs the price.

So 7200 5400? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43352831)

I hope that didn't take years and millions of dollars worth research...

Still not buying seagate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43353085)

Hey Seagate!

The past few years I have had high failure rate with Seagate drives.
I stopped buying them and switched to a diff vendor. How about making some drives
that don't start to crap out so quickly like your drives do now!

From someone who actually has the drive (1)

lyran74 (685550) | about a year and a half ago | (#43353513)

I installed one of the 500GB drives several days ago, and the performance improvement is incredible. Boot times are under a quarter what they used to be with the 5400RPM drive that came with the laptop (a 2011 Macbook Pro). Application launches are virtually instantaneous. It's like a new computer.

I can't speak to the abstract "overall performance" measurements from the article (random 4K response times? give me a break)--where this drive soars is in real-world, day-to-day performance, and the improvements are phenomenal.

Repeated writes are a weak spot for SSD, and this is where a hybrid drive should offer more reliability: cache the frequently-accessed, less-frequently changed data. Should the SSD fail, the drive will fall back to the platter.

The value proposition of these drives is unbeatable--vastly improved speed, great storage capacity, dirt-cheap prices. Let's hope the long-term reliability is what it should be.

Makes sense for lower power use (1)

Bugler412 (2610815) | about a year and a half ago | (#43354047)

One can argue pricing for the slower mechanical hardware, but the benefit for laptops is lower power use, not just for the drive itself but for the supporting cooling and power hardware to support the faster mechanical drive.
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