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Seagate's Shingled Magnetic Recording Tech Boosts HDD Capacities to 5TB and Up

Soulskill posted about 10 months ago | from the that'll-hold-a-lot-of-torrented-uhhh-linux-ISOs dept.

Data Storage 195

crookedvulture writes "Seagate has begun shipping hard drives based on a new technology dubbed Shingled Magnetic Recording. SMR, as it's called, preserves the perpendicular bit orientation of current HDDs but changes the way that tracks are organized. Instead of laying out the tracks individually, SMR stacks them on top of each other in a staggered fashion that resembles the shingles on a roof. Although this overlap enables higher bit densities, it comes with a penalty. Rewrites compromise the data on the following track, which must be read and rewritten, which in turn compromises the data on the following track, and so on. SMR distributes the layered tracks in narrow bands to mitigate the performance penalty associated with rewrites. The makeup of those bands will vary based on the drive's intended application. We should see the first examples of SMR next year, when Seagate intends to introduce a 5TB drive with 1.25TB per platter. Traditional hard drives top out at 4TB and 1TB per platter right now."

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195 comments

25% improvement in space ... (4, Informative)

Covalent (1001277) | about 10 months ago | (#44812711)

... for a significant reduction in speed?

No thanks.

Re:25% improvement in space ... (5, Informative)

The MAZZTer (911996) | about 10 months ago | (#44812747)

Only write speed, it sounds like. So storing one-write/many-read files might be a good use case; such as videos, photos, music, etc...

Re:25% improvement in space ... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 10 months ago | (#44812823)

You still have to get the data on there. If that process is too bothersome when compared to alternatives, then us data hoarders may just pass on these drives.

Plus, these drives will likely go for a hefty premium above and beyond smaller drives (like 4TB ones) that also perform better.

They really don't need any additional reasons to dissuade potential buyers.

Re:25% improvement in space ... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44813099)

Pretty sure these will be marketed towards the write-rarely "backup/media dump" segment. At lower $/GB than a non-shingled 5.4kRPM.

Re:25% improvement in space ... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 10 months ago | (#44813171)

It's not how frequently you're going to be writing to the drive but how much data you want to put on it when you do. Being unable to clone a drive WILL be a problem.

You are trying to argue with precisely the sort of user you're trying to speak for.

Re:25% improvement in space ... (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about 10 months ago | (#44813949)

You would be able to clone a drive, just not as quickly.

But from the sound of it, it is probable that well formed sequential writes (such as cloning a whole disk) might run at full speed, there's no need to read and rewrite a track if you can hint that it will be overwritten anyway.

Re:25% improvement in space ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44813983)

First HD to benefit from being TRIMmed?

Re:25% improvement in space ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44812847)

and only degraded write speed once the disk is near full. fresh writes are appended on the end and stuff in the middle is marked "to be reclaimed."

5 1/4 HD's (2)

7bit (1031746) | about 10 months ago | (#44814803)

This is all well and good, but couldn't just one manufacturer afford to set aside one measly manufacturing line for making 5 1/4 inch Hard Drives again?

Here me out. Now that they are up to 1TB per platter with current tech on 3.5 inch drives just imagine what they could fit into a 5 1/4 inch drive now!!

I know I wouldn't be the only one willing to shell out bux for one of those, providing they used all that space intelligently: With Data Spaces that large it would pretty much be a requirement to include built in internal Mirroring RAID of some sort between the platters, or at least provide the option, for data integrity and protection and longevity of the unit.

I've been salivating over that dream for years now.

Re:5 1/4 HD's (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 10 months ago | (#44815081)

Here me out. Now that they are up to 1TB per platter with current tech on 3.5 inch drives just imagine what they could fit into a 5 1/4 inch drive now!!

Umm, around 9.1 TB? ((Simply did 5.25" drive area / 3.5" drive area) * 4 TB)

Re:5 1/4 HD's (3, Informative)

lgw (121541) | about 10 months ago | (#44815125)

There was once a "bigfoot" brand of HDDs that did just that. It was a disaster. It's unlikely anyone will try that again. You can just put 2 3.5" drive in about the same volume in your case, so why not do that?

Re:5 1/4 HD's (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44815185)

As I understand it, one of the big reasons for moving away from 5.25" toward 3.5" and smaller is because of the need for faster and faster seek and read/write times. They had already made the bus path from head to CPU pretty fast, after that, the low hanging fruit for further gains was to simply make the disk(s) spin faster. After all, you can't possibly send bits on the wire faster than they spin past the read head. Problem is, spinning the larger 5.25" platters faster a) sucks back a lot more power than their smaller brethren. b) more power means more heat==shorter MTBF c) increased vibration increases read/write errors. (a problem exacerbated by ever-smaller magnetic domains)

Another reason of course is that the smaller package just makes so much sense at the end user level as well. Smaller portable consumer devices, more drives per rack etc

Finally; selling 5.25" drives in a world of 3.5" and smaller has been tried. "Quantum Bigfoot" [wikipedia.org]

Re:25% improvement in space ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44812885)

I don't think the description should be taken literally, the drive will not wait for a whole platter rotation to rewrite the damaged data. This would kill write speeds by an order of magnitude. Rather, i would speculate that a more complex magnetic head reads, writes and corrects the data in a single pass.

Re:25% improvement in space ... (1)

pwizard2 (920421) | about 10 months ago | (#44813577)

How much of a speed reduction are we talking about here? If it's a few seconds slower, I can live with that--I'd rather have more space.

Re:25% improvement in space ... (1)

sjames (1099) | about 10 months ago | (#44813907)

It could be fine for some applications, especially with an SSD cache. For other uses, not so good.

Re:25% improvement in space ... (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 10 months ago | (#44815057)

For something like DVR recordings, I don't need the speed, and just want the space.. So it could be a reasonable tradeoff.. I didn't see how much of a difference it would make in cost.

clearly I don't understand something... (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44812757)

rewriting data compromises data on the next track, which needs to be read/written, which compromises...
So you need to rewrite the whole damn 5TB disk?

"higher bit densities come with a penalty"
That sounds like an understatement.

Re:clearly I don't understand something... (2)

intermodal (534361) | about 10 months ago | (#44812815)

TFA says they've limited the overlap to prevent the need to rewrite the whole disk. Only the three-track segments, which do not affect the tracks beside the trio.

That said, I won't be an early adopter on this one. We'll see how it pans out in the real world before I consider deploying this.

Re:clearly I don't understand something... (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 10 months ago | (#44812851)

that is where they got the name,... it runs down your platter like shingles down your torso. What you pictured a roof?

Re:clearly I don't understand something... (1)

BigMike (122378) | about 10 months ago | (#44812875)

rewriting data compromises data on the next track, which needs to be read/written, which compromises...
So you need to rewrite the whole damn 5TB disk?

"higher bit densities come with a penalty"
That sounds like an understatement.

You're gonna want to get rid of all that DRAM you've got then ...

Re:clearly I don't understand something... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 10 months ago | (#44813287)

DRAM refreshes and rewriting data are two different things.

Re:clearly I don't understand something... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44814537)

I think the joke was "Never, ever write to the disk"

Re:clearly I don't understand something... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44812913)

Then RTFSummary
SMR distributes the layered tracks in narrow bands to mitigate the performance penalty associated with rewrites

Re:clearly I don't understand something... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44814333)

clearly I don't understand something...

That sounds like an understatement.

Blame Microsoft (4, Funny)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 10 months ago | (#44812883)

People will just blame Windows for the sluggishness.

I wonder if they could make 50tb drives today? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44812903)

Sometimes I wonder if they already have the technology to make 50 or 100 tb drives and they are just trying to keep their profit margins up by incrementally increasing storage at a fixed rate every year.

Yes, all twelve agreed to go out of business (5, Insightful)

raymorris (2726007) | about 10 months ago | (#44812969)

Yep, they've had it since 2004, when all twelve of the drive manufacturers agreed to just sit on it while Western Digital kicked their butt in the marketplace. Nine of them went out of business rather than reveal their secret.

Re:Yes, all twelve agreed to go out of business (1)

Flere Imsaho (786612) | about 10 months ago | (#44815561)

Citation? Last time I checked, the largest WD disk available is "only" 3 Tb.

Re:I wonder if they could make 50tb drives today? (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 10 months ago | (#44814461)

...they already have the technology to make 50 or 100 tb drives

Stored in a secret Area 51 bunker staffed by Brent Spiner.

Re:I wonder if they could make 50tb drives today? (2)

MiniMike (234881) | about 10 months ago | (#44814843)

They have the technology, but it's limited to write-only drives.

Not going back (2)

Dunbal (464142) | about 10 months ago | (#44812905)

I switched to SSD technology and I'm never going back. Yeah ok there are no 5TB drives yet. And 1TB is still insane. But 512GB is almost affordable, 256GB certainly is. If I need more storage, I'll just keep buying more. And eventually the price on the large drives will also come down. Sorry Seagate, the game is already over except for very specialized, very niche storage roles.

Re: Not going back (1)

mikael_j (106439) | about 10 months ago | (#44813005)

Yeah, at this point I only use regular hard drives for backups and networked media storage. No point in spending lots of money on SSDs for that just yet.

Re:Not going back (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44813081)

1TB is down to $590, which is cheaper than stacking up smaller ones. Still mildly painful, but it's getting low enough where you can almost justify just skipping over the 512GB ($400) and 256GB ($200) models entirely.

Re:Not going back (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 10 months ago | (#44813103)

Yeah. Buy storage in 256G chunks.

That makes as much sense as someone getting giddy over how large of an array they can make out of 10 year old hard drives. It will be unnecessarily complex and resemble some sort of Rube Goldberg machine.

Large drives are hardly a "niche" use case.

On the other hand, there is a very wide gap between what expensive SSD can reasonably deliver and what much cheaper spinning rust can manage. Spinning rust can manage a wide range of use cases.

It's SSD that represents the niche: small data for very casual users that don't do much of anything.

 

Re:Not going back (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 10 months ago | (#44813359)

I don't think you've seen how thin SSD drives actually are. As for what it can manage, failure rates are down now and just about equivalent to platter hard drives. You do realize that those can fail too, right? And for the rest of "management" well it stores info, which is what I want it to do. And it does that and reads it very, very quickly. If you compare the price of an SSD to the price of a regular hard drive you're doing apples to oranges. Go ahead and compare them to one of these ultra-pimped high RPM hybrids, and then talk to me about price. The SSD is still faster and cheaper. But yeah, the 10 year old 7200 rpm hard drives are much cheaper. A motorcycle is also cheaper than a car.

Re:Not going back (1, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 10 months ago | (#44813659)

I know how thin SSD drives are. I have some. Although I realize their limitations. I just don't swim in the kool-aid or act like some sort of tech fashionista.

It's good that you mention drive failures because spinning rust gives you some warning. It makes it easier to prepare rather than just being surprised suddenly.

The cost difference also makes it more likely that you have some degree of protection either from array redundancy or extra copies of the data.

Not going out of your way to waste as much money as quickly as possible has some practical benefit.

Re:Not going back (0)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 10 months ago | (#44814571)

Going by your UID, you're getting on the older side. You're gonna check out sooner or later - might as well get as much done as possible. Practical benefit might be weighted towards performance rather than price

Re:Not going back (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | about 10 months ago | (#44814455)

Tell that to Harely Davidson then. Damn bikes start at 20k and simply go up for a new one and yes I can buy a new Chevy or Ford for less.

Re:Not going back (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 10 months ago | (#44815327)

Well if you want to compare pricey "top of the line" bikes, you should compare them to pricey "top of the line" cars. Try buying a Mercedes 500 series for $20k...

Re:Not going back (3, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 10 months ago | (#44813897)

512GB hits the use case for probably 95% of consumers (based anecdotally on backup sizes and harddrive capacities for ~3-400 friends, customers, family, etc).

Re:Not going back (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 10 months ago | (#44813727)

Well if you're happy with 256GB storage total, but you can get a 128GB SSD + 2TB HDD for the same money. If streaming covers all your needs then good for you but heck my Steam directory full of 10GB+ games alone would give it breathing issues. I think they do damn well in pairs, just checked and I'm still looking at a 16:1 price advantage (250 GB SSD ~= 4 TB HDD). Personally I just love the ability to have near infinite space for a few bucks, you can be a digital hoarder and still have it fit a mid size cabinet. But hey, if streaming or download&delete works for you by all means don't.

maintenance (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44812909)

I can only imagine how long it would take to use a defrag program to degrag that drive. And dont get me started on using something like spin-rite to do a hard drive diagnosis where it needs to read and write to the heads many times trying to pull data off an iffy platter!

Re:maintenance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44813193)

I can only imagine how long it would take to use a defrag program to degrag that drive. And dont get me started on using something like spin-rite to do a hard drive diagnosis where it needs to read and write to the heads many times trying to pull data off an iffy platter!

This isn't the 90s.
Why in the hell would you be using a file system so old it benefits from defragging?
Or was this a subtle joke?

Re:maintenance (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 10 months ago | (#44813333)

You mean like everyone running Windows, as well as anything using an ext filesystem?

From e2fsck:
              -D Optimize directories in filesystem. This option causes e2fsck
                    to try to optimize all directories, either by reindexing them if
                    the filesystem supports directory indexing, or by sorting and
                    compressing directories for smaller directories, or for filesys-
                    tems using traditional linear directories.

                    Even without the -D option, e2fsck may sometimes optimize a few
                    directories --- for example, if directory indexing is enabled
                    and a directory is not indexed and would benefit from being
                    indexed, or if the index structures are corrupted and need to be
                    rebuilt. The -D option forces all directories in the filesystem
                    to be optimized. This can sometimes make them a little smaller
                    and slightly faster to search, but in practice, you should
                    rarely need to use this option.

                    The -D option will detect directory entries with duplicate names
                    in a single directory, which e2fsck normally does not enforce
                    for performance reasons.

Re:maintenance (0)

jedidiah (1196) | about 10 months ago | (#44813711)

> You mean like everyone running Windows, as well as anything using an ext filesystem?

You have no idea what you are talking about. Your attempt to cite information you clearly don't understand doesn't alter this.

No one defrags drives under Linux.

NTFS requires defrags? How lame.

Re:maintenance (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 10 months ago | (#44813937)

http://askubuntu.com/questions/9306/do-i-need-to-defrag-ext-file-systems [askubuntu.com]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext3#Disadvantages [wikipedia.org]

There is no online ext3 defragmentation tool that works on the filesystem level.... While ext3 is more resistant to file fragmentation than the FAT filesystem, ext3 can get fragmented over time or for specific usage patterns, like slowly-writing large files.[23][24] Consequently, ext4, the successor to ext3, is planned to eventually include an online filesystem defragmentation

All filesystems running on magnetic media require defragmentation. Those that "do not" are defragging. Fragmentation is a fact of life with any filesystem. And before you start up with the "well ext requires less", so does NTFS: comparisons between ext and "the Windows world" are invariably referring to FAT, not NTFS, which is by all accounts a strong competitor to the ext family.

So a better remark might be "ext3 doesnt support online defrag? How unfortunate."

You have no idea what you are talking about. Your attempt to cite information you clearly don't understand doesn't alter this.

How appropriate for your post.

Re:maintenance (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 10 months ago | (#44815223)

All filesystems running on magnetic media require defragmentation.

Why do they "require" defragmentation?

It sounds to me like you're saying they require it *for performance reasons*. Not for technical reasons. As long as random access is as fast as you need it to be, who cares how fragmented things get?

Re:maintenance (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 10 months ago | (#44815361)

They require fragmentation because when 2 10MB files are allocated, and then data is removed from the first to bring it down to 5MB, there is a 5MB hole in between the files. Over the course of time, there will be many small holes in your filesystem, and eventually you will need to write a file that is bigger than any single "hole". At that point, the data will be fragmented across several holes.

This is simply a reality of using filesystems, and cannot be avoided without a precognitive, omnipotent filesystem. Anything you might do to alleviate this problem (reorganizing stuff on the fly) is essentially defragmenting.

Re:maintenance (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 10 months ago | (#44815371)

To answer your second question, the "why" is that every magnetic media we have has seek times that are roughly 3 orders of magnitude slower than the timescales RAM and CPU work on, making every seek a massive performance hit.

Until we completely eliminate those seek hits, defragmentation will be necessary, and at the moment SSDs are nowhere near the majority of data storage.

Re:maintenance (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 10 months ago | (#44815377)

Since you obviously know that a *file* can be fragmented, obviously you already know that a file doesn't have to be contiguously written.

Thus, you don't need to defragment it. The directory structure knows that the 'file' is in blocks 1-5, 8, 14.

Re:maintenance (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 10 months ago | (#44815451)

but you are wrong, fragmentation can severly impact performance in the real world. Some people *do* defrag files under Linux when it becomes a problem

Re:maintenance (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 10 months ago | (#44815471)

Yes, as I originally said, FOR PERFORMANCE. Not for ACTUAL USAGE, IF THE RANDOM ACCESS TIME is within someone's needs.

Re:maintenance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44814607)

No one defrags drives under Linux.

xfs_fsr - filesystem reorganizer for XFS [die.net]

Re:maintenance (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | about 10 months ago | (#44814645)

Check out the Win7 Tasks - Defrag is automatic and yes - NTFS requires defragmentation not only of the File system but the god damn index. BTW Don't allow an NTFS disk to exceed 50 percent full or you will suffer data loss/corruption - don't believe me? Check the MS Knowledge base and yes it still applies to Win8 since it's using NTFS.

Re:maintenance (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 10 months ago | (#44814861)

TW Don't allow an NTFS disk to exceed 50 percent full or you will suffer data loss/corruption - don't believe me? Check the MS Knowledge base and yes it still applies to Win8 since it's using NTFS.

Source or bull. The only space limitation on NTFS is that you are "supposed" to leave at least 15% of space for defrag-- though i suspect like the "swap=2xRAM" metric of old that it is only a rough guide and horribly outdated.

Re:maintenance (1)

sjames (1099) | about 10 months ago | (#44814163)

Right there in the help it says you won't normally use -D. Besides, is there anything that hasn't updated to ext4 that would also likely have a 5TB drive?

Re:maintenance (1)

Shark (78448) | about 10 months ago | (#44813831)

Technically on mechanical drives, ext4 benefits from defragging... So does btrfs.

Re:maintenance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44814223)

Technically same thing on NAND based SSDs (opening a page takes a few us for MLC).

Re:maintenance (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 10 months ago | (#44814879)

So do all filesystems operating on media with higher sequential throughput than random throughput.

Fragmentation will occur on any filesystem which allows files to be modified without being re-written in full.

I wonder what the retention reliability is like (1)

msobkow (48369) | about 10 months ago | (#44813057)

I have to seriously question the retention reliability of a device that requires re-writing multiple tracks at one time.

The performance impact is obvious as well.

I think I'll avoid these like the plague until they're proven to be as reliable as older technology.

Re:I wonder what the retention reliability is like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44813331)

100% Agree.

Rewriting multiple tracks everytime I add data? (0)

SeaFox (739806) | about 10 months ago | (#44813089)

DO NOT WANT

Re:Rewriting multiple tracks everytime I add data? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44813241)

You do not have to re-write multiple tracks each time.

Firmware adds the data at the end in an unwritten area and marks the old area "to be reclaimed" reclaiming can be done during downtime and is done safely.

Reclaiming works by reading the data for the other tracks in the shingled block and appending those at the end. Then, once that is verified properly copied, you mark that whole old block as free.

The only issue there is fragmentation. Need very smart firmware to do reclaiming without introducing fragmentation so reclaim probably best done by the OS. (ok, there is the other issue of overwrite not truly erasing data)

Re:Rewriting multiple tracks everytime I add data? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 10 months ago | (#44815449)

bullshit on "done safely", instead of loss to a single file a power loss or unexpected interuption wil be devastating to the intergrity of an enormous amount of data.

Re:Rewriting multiple tracks everytime I add data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44815517)

Yes. No one ever thought of that... gotta love armchair engineers.

Does it (still) make sense ? (2, Interesting)

boorack (1345877) | about 10 months ago | (#44813127)

Except for some corner cases ? Given that Samsung also learned how to stack their NAND flash and CrossBar technology is almost there ? Traditional disks are almost dead at this point. Relatively high price of SSDs is the only thing that keeps them alive and price is going down fast. 4TB 3.5" SSD drives are already available and 2GB 2.5" drives are certainly possible (if SSD controllers are capable of handling such capacities). Any significant breakthrough in sold state storage technology (vNAND, CrossBar, anyone ?) makes SSD advantages only bigger and there seems to be a lot of room for improvement in this pretty much like in HDD technologies 15 years ago. My bet is that SSDs will take over traditional HDDs in all aspects (including price) in less than 5 yars.

Re:Does it (still) make sense ? (2)

slaker (53818) | about 10 months ago | (#44814049)

Spinning disks are only dead if you have no bulk storage needs, unless you think prices are going to fall through the floor out of the kindness of NAND Flash manufacturers' hearts.

There's a single chassis in my closet that has 96TB of disks in it. That kind of density is utterly unthinkable on flash memory.

Re:Does it (still) make sense ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44814123)

"CrossBar technology is almost there"
So were FeRAM, MRAM, PCRAM, ...

Re:Does it (still) make sense ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44814783)

MRAM has started mass production and so has CrossBar. Eat your words.

Re:Does it (still) make sense ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44814173)

My bet is that SSDs will take over traditional HDDs in all aspects (including price) in less than 5 yars.

Please do show me where to source SSDs and related controllers and processing elements to run a storage node with 1 exabyte (or more), where 33% of the hardware devices can fail and not only do you not lose any data, but the system happily keeps serving data to the data center.

Show me where to source these parts for under 20 million dollars, in either now or 5 years from now money.

Then I will take such a "prediction" seriously.

Not only would SSDs ramp that price up over a billion, I guess you expect us to plug them all into those non-existent controller devices as well.

Re:Does it (still) make sense ? (1)

lgw (121541) | about 10 months ago | (#44815175)

There are several well-funded start up in the valley making pure-SSD enterprise arrays now, plus several making SSD-fronting-HDD arrays.

Given that the cost of the physical disks in big box storage is a small fraction of the cost of the unit, SSD-based storage will only be more expensive because EMC/NetApp can get away with charging even more.

Re:Does it (still) make sense ? (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 10 months ago | (#44814905)

Traditional disks are STILL about 10x the capacity and 1/10th the price-per-capacity of SSDs, as they have been since they arrived. Price-per-GB for SSDs has come down, but so has price-per-GB of mechanical drives-- currently you can get a 3TB drive for ~$100, while a 256GB SSD costs around $200-- thats 8x the cost for the SSD.

How do I find out the number of platters? (1)

Chemisor (97276) | about 10 months ago | (#44813139)

A question: how can I find out the number of platters in a particular hard drive model? Seagate still lists areal density on its web site, but I was unable to find this information for WD. Naturally, Amazon and Newegg never tell you these things. So where can those of us who'd much rather have a single-platter drive find out which ones those are?

Re:How do I find out the number of platters? (1)

WuphonsReach (684551) | about 10 months ago | (#44813979)

Well, for 2.5" drives, it depends on the "height" of the drive.

2.5" drives seem to come in (3) sizes. 7mm, 9.5mm and 15mm.

You're pretty much guaranteed that the 7mm drives are single-platter. There just isn't enough room in there for a 2nd platter along with the requisite spacing.

Harder to say for the 9.5mm units, but they're probably a mix of single and double platter.

The 15mm units are going to be almost all double (or triple?) platter.

Power usage is also a hint. The more platters, the more power the drive consumes to keep those platters spinning. The older 3.5" drives with 4 or 5 platters in them were real power hogs.

Another mess (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 10 months ago | (#44813165)

For some workloads these things will create nothing but problems. And all that for a 20% density increase? Sounds quite stupid to me.

Re:Another mess (1)

slaker (53818) | about 10 months ago | (#44814065)

The current "Green" drives from WD and Seagate already create nothing but problems for certain workloads, but they're extremely appealing for one-off modest-density needs that are probably appropriate to most consumer applications.

What? NO cartoon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44813211)

Last time they indroduced new technology for increasing areal density we got a cool cartoon ....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xb_PyKuI7II

All for the low low price of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44813217)

All for the low low price of losing your files even harder than before.
THANKS SEAGATE. Get fuuuucked.

Friends don't let friends buy Seagate hard drives. Ever.
Worst drives ever. Never had any brand fail as hard as they do. I have drives hitting 15 years old and still work fine, Seagate drives, every one of them, failed in 2.
OH BUT SURE, CHEAP DRIVES, AWESOME. Never again. Never again.

Re:All for the low low price of... (1)

damnbunni (1215350) | about 10 months ago | (#44813541)

I have had drives from every manufacturer but one fail in warranty or just out of it, and I've had drives from all manufacturers last for years and years without issues.

All the hard drive companies have made some good drives and some bad ones.

(The one that never died prematurely on me was Micropolis. I had their server-grade drives.)

Re:All for the low low price of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44813589)

Anecdotal. I only had 1 drive fail me, and that was long ago (I think there was Elder's scrolls I or II on it, when it was new) And I think I bought at least one hard drive a year, and lot of them seagate, and I'm pretty sure I use them more than 2 years (currently 2x 2TB (seagate and WD), a 1TB (samsung) and a 400GB (seagate) are plugged), so my conclusion is that nowadays hard drive never ever fail. Right ?

Re:All for the low low price of... (2)

slaker (53818) | about 10 months ago | (#44814127)

I buy several hundred drives a year and I've consistently had more problems with all non-Enterprise Western Digital product lines than with I had with Seagate, Hitachi or Samsung models. By rough order of preference, I found WD "Blue" drives least reliable, followed by WD Green, followed by Seagate Eco models, followed by WD Black. The most trouble free drives over the last five years or so? Samsung's F-series and Hitachi DeskStars. Goddammitsomuch.

If you value your data (0)

letherial (1302031) | about 10 months ago | (#44813517)

Dont buy drives that have alot of space. Cramming these bits in make the HDD work harder and hotter, therefore they break quicker.

Example, my new 1TB lasted 1 year and half, my 500GB has last about 7 years now....

Seagate idea sounds retarded from the top down.

Re:If you value your data (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 10 months ago | (#44813805)

I have a 1.5TB drive that's been in service for nearly 5 years.

I usually retire drives not because of failures or disk errors but due to capacity. I've seen drives from 500G up to 4TB and hammered drives of all sizes.

Capacity doesn't really impact longevity.

Re:If you value your data (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 10 months ago | (#44814397)

I usually retire drives (to the storage room) when they become full. By then they're obsolete anyway. Anybody know the shelf life of a hard drive? Should I run them like the air conditioner every so often?

No way in hell (1)

Cyfun (667564) | about 10 months ago | (#44813575)

Given Seagate's track record with forays into fancy new hard disk technologies, let me be the first to say NO WAY IN HELL AM I GOING TO TRY THIS... until at least a second or third gen has the bugs worked out.

I was fool enough to try their terabyte drives with their nifty vertically-oriented bit techniques. Went through six brand new hard drives in one month. SIX! Two drives RMAed three times. Finally told Seagate that I'm not going to be their guinea pig anymore, and that I'm going to shelve the drives and to call me when they iron the bugs out. That was over 2 years ago and I haven't heard a peep.

Re:No way in hell (1)

Cyfun (667564) | about 10 months ago | (#44813585)

Also, "track record," no pun intended. xD

Shipping? (1)

8tim8 (623968) | about 10 months ago | (#44813661)

>Seagate has begun shipping hard drives based on a new technology dubbed Shingled Magnetic Recording....We should see the first examples of SMR next year, when Seagate intends to introduce a 5TB drive with 1.25TB per platter.

These two things don't match.

Poor compromise for only small capacity increase (5, Insightful)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about 10 months ago | (#44813663)

The read-modify-write penalty for overwriting existing data in-place is huge (even with attempts to minimize it with smart block mapping) and not worth the very minor increase in areal density. It's a bad sign that the storage industry was forced to adopt this because it means better encoding technologies are further off in the future than originally anticipated. Brick wall.

Re:Poor compromise for only small capacity increas (1)

erice (13380) | about 10 months ago | (#44813923)

The read-modify-write penalty for overwriting existing data in-place is huge (even with attempts to minimize it with smart block mapping) and not worth the very minor increase in areal density. It's a bad sign that the storage industry was forced to adopt this because it means better encoding technologies are further off in the future than originally anticipated. Brick wall.

If it means that rotating media no longer has a write performance advantage over flash, then it is a very poor compromise indeed.

Re:Poor compromise for only small capacity increas (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 10 months ago | (#44814319)

If it means that rotating media no longer has a write performance advantage over flash, then it is a very poor compromise indeed.

What is this, 2008?

Rotating media hasnt been competitive in write performance for quite awhile now.

Re:Poor compromise for only small capacity increas (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 10 months ago | (#44814857)

You mean like the bargain-bin SSDs that have almost 500MB/s of write performance.

First things First (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 10 months ago | (#44813763)

I'm glad to see that unlike some other well-known technical blogs, Slashdot has pushed aside new revelations about our Police State to pass along important product roll-out press releases from the biggest tech companies.

Backporting the Tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44813809)

In reply to all the "do not want" and "not until it's proven" comments, I'm just worried about them backporting the technology to existing (smaller capacity) drives to reduce the number of different fabrication techniques in use before fully exploring it's use in the field. I might be a limited early adopter on this technology but I'm not comfortable switching to it outright.

The summary doesn't mention (1)

guruevi (827432) | about 10 months ago | (#44814553)

But if you edit a single point in the first layers of the hard drive, you have to re-write your entire hard drive down? What happens when the power goes out before you're done writing? Does it rewrite entire tracks or just the magnetic domains that are compromised? How does it even know certain tracks have valid data or will it require a proprietary driver to make it work?

Re:The summary doesn't mention (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 10 months ago | (#44814891)

Just use a COW FS and set your cluster size to that of whatever these "shingle groups" are. :-)

Or ZFS

Wait, I'm not sure I want this... (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 10 months ago | (#44814723)

I may not want this because I see TV commercials all the time that say that I can get Shingles already if I've had the Chicken Pox. Supposedly there's a med that I can use to get rid of it or prevent it.

I'll pass for now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44814807)

Might as well call it what it is, the Seagate Random Number Generator v1.0.

Power failure (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44815137)

What happens if you suddenly lose power?

Re:Power failure (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 10 months ago | (#44815195)

That's undefined behavior. Don't let it happen.
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