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SSHDs Debut On the Desktop With Mixed Results

timothy posted about a year ago | from the getcher-bits-in-a-row dept.

Data Storage 154

crookedvulture writes "Seagate's solid-state hybrid drives have finally made it to the desktop. The latest generation of SSHDs debuted with a 2.5" notebook model that was ultimately hampered by its slow 5,400-RPM spindle speed. The Desktop SSHD has the same 8GB flash payload and Adaptive Memory caching scheme. However, it's equipped with 2TB of much faster 7,200-RPM mechanical storage. The onboard flash produces boot and load times only a little bit slower than those of full-blown SSDs. It also delivers quicker response times than traditional hard drives. That said, the relatively small cache is overwhelmed by some benchmarks, and its mechanical sidekick isn't as fast as the best traditional hard drives. The price premium is a little high, too: an extra $30 for the 1TB model and $40 for the 2TB variant, which is nearly enough to buy a separate 32GB SSD. Seagate's software-independent caching system works with any operating system and hardware platform, so it definitely has some appeal. But dual-drive setups are probably the better solution for most desktop users."

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Does it require windows only software? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45030331)

Does it require windows only software?

No one wants to RTFA and find they can't use it.

Re:Does it require windows only software? (4, Informative)

aitikin (909209) | about a year ago | (#45030367)

You can't RTFS!

Seagate's software-independent caching system works with any operating system and hardware platform, so it definitely has some appeal. But dual-drive setups are probably the better solution for most desktop users.

Re:Does it require windows only software? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45030465)

You can't RTFS!

Seagate's software-independent caching system works with any operating system and hardware platform, so it definitely has some appeal. But dual-drive setups are probably the better solution for most desktop users.

1) That wasn't there when I posted, it ended at 32GB SSD.

For actual content vs diatribe at an on-topic non-grits AC:

$140, 2TB, 7watts, loses to a 4TB WD Black drive, is trounced by velociraptors which themselves are still thrashed by true SSD. For those not watching prices, a 1TB SSD is $550-$600 USD now, big enough for the OS and most Steam folders.

Re:Does it require windows only software? (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | about a year ago | (#45030913)

Hell I bought a dozen (12) 32GB thumb drives (USB flash) for $10 ea. 4x the size at 1/3 the cost so I have to agree that this is a crappy option especially as they've cut the actual cache down from 32M to 64M on these drives by using a meager 8M of flash. don't know if these new Seagates are even worth buying but they've pretty much shot themselves in the foot with this kind of crap.

Prices are Bare drives from Newegg (OEM)
Seagate 1TB Barracuda ST100DM003 with 64M cache $70
WD Green Intelipower 1TB Unkonwn Cache $70

Half the cost of the so called Hybrid drives. For the extra $70 you can almost get several different SSD's from 30 to 64 Gigs in capacity.

Re:Does it require windows only software? (2)

Lanforod (1344011) | about a year ago | (#45031027)

Try reading again. 8 GB of Flash. It's not the same as a 65MB cache on a standard drive, it's more like two drives bundled into one package with the most used files 'cached' on the 8 GB of Flash. I'm not clear yet on if the files are actually cached (meaning there is another copy on the 2 TB HDD part), or if they live normally in the 8 GB Flash part.

Re: Does it require windows only software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45032133)

They are cached, the data exists on the rust too so if something bad happens to the flash your data is generally safe-ish... you have backups anyway, right?

Re:Does it require windows only software? (1)

rjr3 (658693) | about a year ago | (#45032645)

So you would divvy up your system into a
64Gb SSD C: and a
1Tb 7200 D:

blazing fast c drive, equivalent suck d drive
I would spend the same and get twice the capacity of a solution that on average ...is twice or more faster.
FOR EVERYTHING not just the c drive.
My photos are faster, my vmdk are faster, my compiles are faster, ... everything.

Re:Does it require windows only software? (1)

Yomers (863527) | about a year ago | (#45033471)

Or you can buy 32-64 GB SSD and HDD, and use flashcache, and you will have the same hybrid drive but with 4-8 times larger cache.

Re:Does it require windows only software? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45031561)

1) That wasn't there when I posted, it ended at 32GB SSD.

Which is why Timothy should spend less time reading first posts and more time reading articles and summaries...

But this is /....

oops (4, Insightful)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#45030377)

They seem to have forgotten a little defect. SSDs have a low failure rate, high speeds, okay prices, but everyone's scared of flash memory degradation after a number of writes. Some crappy one would get 1500 write cycles on a chip but OCZ ones get 9000 which, even at my high usage on a 128GB drive, is at least 8 years before it fries.
So Seagate decides to take the biggest pitfall and hated feature and put it into a hybrid drive. All data written to the gigantic drive is passed through that 8GB buffer first. Flash memory that can put up with that amount of writes over the long term doesn't exist. These drives would maybe last a year or two if you're lucky.

Re:oops (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45030445)

All data written to the gigantic drive is passed through that 8GB buffer first.

The article says,

the SLC zones store boot data and cache some incoming writes.

One of you is wrong.

Re:oops (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45030531)

I vote for all three being wrong.

Re:oops (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#45030595)

They almost definitely absorb all tiny writes and ignore large sequential files by simply caching everything then stopping if the data doesn't stop after XX ms. That would match with their "OS agnostic" claim.

Re:oops (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45030675)

It is not a write through cache. The drive firmware copies frequently read files to flash. I use a Momentus XT and can you can actually notice when it does this. Frequently used programs load quickly. If you update a program, it loads slowly a time or two, then suddenly switches to loading fast.

Bittorrents screw all of this up. Frequent reads lead to more and more programs being displaced. If I leave bittorrent running over night, it takes a day or two for the flash to repopulate with the OS and programs.

Re:oops (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45031099)

More RAM. Get 16+ gigs of RAM. One slow first read, then everything comes out of the RAM cache. You know what's faster than an SSD? RAM. You know what doesn't have weird write-lifetime issues? RAM. Games, word processors, internet browsers, your OS; all that stuff fits in 16GB (my root partition is using less than 7GB). Yeah, if your working set is huge (15+ gigs), or doing lots of writes (and you cannot write-cache it), an SSD will change night to day. For gamers and desktop users (like myself): more RAM (and an OS that can use it as a read cache).

Re:oops (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | about a year ago | (#45032533)

I was waiting for someone to bring up the RAM alternative so I could ask my stupid question: If it's 8Gb, why didn't they just use DDRx instead of flash? I get that the OS will live on the flash part so that booting up is faster, but once you've buffered the data RAM will last 100 times longer than flash, and it's faster. How often do you reboot a desktop?

By the way, I have 16Gb on my machine and I do a lot of content creation. I *easily* fill it up to 14Gb+, and I'm guessing that it only stops there because the software isn't getting the green light from the OS to carve up even more. I'm just guessing but I'm pretty certain that if I had 64Gb of RAM I'd occasionally pass the 32Gb mark.

Re:oops (1)

Wing_Zero (692394) | about a year ago | (#45032805)

Ram is considered volatile memory, meaning it loses its info when power is turned off. the whole point of the ssd on hard drive is to take the most used things you store and send them out quickly. ram cache would help during use, but is almost useless during long reads that aren't known already. Starting up a system is a prime example, Solid state will already have it in storage when you begin (Ideally) and be able to send it out before the hard drive even has to spin up.

ram would (and does in any normal system) have to wait for the disk to spin up, and feed it data. Every time you turn off/on the system.
A unique case would mabe be a VM, but i don't really want to break that down.

What your probably wanting is a "Ram Drive", where you dedicate a portion of system memory for a Virtual hard drive that disapears when you shut down and is recreated on startup. handy things, great for temp files and anything you don't want your system to keep once your done with it. (I cache my torrents to one and copy the final file to the hard drive once done, keeps my disk from thrashing to badly)

That being said, I would love having a hard drive come out with a laptop ram slot. "we ship our drives with 32mb cache, but a user can put in up to a 4GB Upgrade"
heck, I'd buy it :)

Re:oops (1)

arth1 (260657) | about a year ago | (#45032219)

It is not a write through cache. The drive firmware copies frequently read files to flash.

The problem with that claim is that it doesn't jive with it being OS-agnostic. To know what a file are, you have to understand the file system. I can guarantee you that this drive does not understand XFS with external journal, which is what I use.

If you mean frequently read blocks, that's doable, but to have a counter for every block of a 2TB drive would take up far more memory than this device has.

What is feasible is a caching system which expires blocks that haven't been read in a certain amount of time. But that would contradict the claim that it boosts boot speed, because those blocks are generally only read once, at boot time, and would get expunged.

So it's more likely a split FINO/FIFO buffer, and what you hear in your drive is the read-ahead and journal flushes.

Anyhow, boosting boot time would primarily be useful for desktop systems that are powered off every night. And even then, keeping systems running on low power is becoming the standard. And there's usually room for two or more drives - a fast system drive (often SSD) and a slower bigger secondary storage.
So it seems like a solution looking for a problem.

Re:oops (1)

citizenr (871508) | about a year ago | (#45032669)

It is not a write through cache. The drive firmware copies frequently read files to flash.

The problem with that claim is that it doesn't jive with it being OS-agnostic. To know what a file are, you have to understand the file system. I can guarantee you that this drive does not understand XFS with external journal, which is what I use.

it doesnt care, it caches SECTORS, not files

Re:oops (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#45032913)

It is not a write through cache. The drive firmware copies frequently read files to flash.

The problem with that claim is that it doesn't jive with it being OS-agnostic. To know what a file are, you have to understand the file system. I can guarantee you that this drive does not understand XFS with external journal, which is what I use.

If you mean frequently read blocks, that's doable, but to have a counter for every block of a 2TB drive would take up far more memory than this device has.

What is feasible is a caching system which expires blocks that haven't been read in a certain amount of time. But that would contradict the claim that it boosts boot speed, because those blocks are generally only read once, at boot time, and would get expunged.

Why wouldn't it just cache the first 8GB of blocks read after power on? That should cache the O/S startup files and whatever applications are autostarted after boot.

Re:oops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45031387)

All data written to the gigantic drive is passed through that 8GB buffer first.

The article says,

the SLC zones store boot data and cache some incoming writes.

One of you is wrong.

Technically, "all data written" is "some incoming writes", so the quotes you give are not pedantically exclusive.
(In reality, of course, GP is wrong, and an effort is made to detect large contiguous writes and not cache them.)

Re:oops (1)

Arker (91948) | about a year ago | (#45030527)

It's apparently only 'some' writes cached, and one wonders how exactly that is done while still being OS agnostic. But not much.

This is just a crappy drive with an expensive cache, which may or may not die more quickly than normal case, whose only real advantage is persistence. Which means it will do little more than make your system boot faster. If you are booting often enough to worry about it you are doing it wrong IMHO. I'd rather spend the money on a faster spindle or a better conventional cache (or both.)

Re:oops (0)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | about a year ago | (#45031731)

I take it you've never used one.

In general windows use it speeds up the programs you use often quite a bit.

> and one wonders how exactly that is done while still being OS agnostic.

You write/read to sectors mapped as blocks, if you read/write to the same block more then a few times then it's worth caching. That's how block caches work.

Re:oops (1)

Arker (91948) | about a year ago | (#45031999)

"You write/read to sectors mapped as blocks, if you read/write to the same block more then a few times then it's worth caching. That's how block caches work."

And that is different from how a conventional cache works how?

Exactly how I said. Persistence. So it helps with boot-times where a standard cache is blank at startup. Once the machine has been up for a minute? No advantage. Probably a disadvantage compared to a cache where there is no need to worry about exceeding maximum writes.

you can't cache writes in RAM, locality of random (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#45032541)

For READS, yes it's mainly about boot time and the first time you open a frequently used program. WRITES on the other hand can't be cached to RAM, not for more than a few seconds (and some not at all). Persistent cache makes all the difference for random writes.

The benchmarks understate the improvement because they generally lack locality and frequent rewrites. Benchmarks typically spread writes all over a 2 TB drive. In actual use, random writes aren't truly random. A database will write to the same xx MBs thousands of times, as will an email client and many other applications. Having the 500 MB that is your database on the flash cache is a huge improvement for these types of workloads. For some other workloads, the improvement is minimal.

Re:you can't cache writes in RAM, locality of rand (1)

Arker (91948) | about a year ago | (#45032649)

"For READS, yes it's mainly about boot time and the first time you open a frequently used program. WRITES on the other hand can't be cached to RAM, not for more than a few seconds (and some not at all). Persistent cache makes all the difference for random writes."

You generally only need to cache writes for a few fractions of a second, until the write head is in position to transfer them to disk. Dynamic RAM is fine for this, and using a persistent medium is not going to magically improve your results here.

"The benchmarks understate the improvement because they generally lack locality and frequent rewrites. Benchmarks typically spread writes all over a 2 TB drive. In actual use, random writes aren't truly random. A database will write to the same xx MBs thousands of times, as will an email client and many other applications. Having the 500 MB that is your database on the flash cache is a huge improvement for these types of workloads. For some other workloads, the improvement is minimal."

The effect you want here is achieved simply and without any problem by simply adding 500mb of RAM to the system cache which knows a lot more about access patterns and files than the on-drive logic can possibly gather.

Re:oops (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45030609)

You're thinking of MLC flash. This is SLC flash, like all hybrid drives, which has orders of magnitude more write cycles (but is a lot more expensive per GB).

not actually write caching blocks copied to flash (4, Interesting)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#45030741)

I looked at buying one of these. Writes don't really go to flash. Selected blocks are asynchronously copied to flash.

There's cool way to avoid the cash over use you mention that I wish someone would make in an under $500 drive. Have 4GB of flash, 4GB of DRAM, and a capacitor. Random writes go to DRAM, making random io a thousand times faster. On power failure, the capacitor flashes the contents of the DRAM to the flash. You get the speed of DRAM, crash safety, and 3TB of capacity from the underlying spindle.

Re:not actually write caching blocks copied to fla (2)

jaak (1826046) | about a year ago | (#45030927)

Well, in that case you could actually just skip the flash entirely.

The RAM could write directly to a dedicated area on the hard disk in the event of a power failure - sort of like how hibernate / suspend to disk works now.

you'd need a BIG capacitor if no Flash. (5, Informative)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#45031241)

with actual real world write speeds of around 20 MB/s, that capacitor would need to spin the drive for three minutes. That would be one hell of a capacitor. Flash chips use less power and are faster, so they could run long enough on capacitors that actually exist.

.

Re:you'd need a BIG capacitor if no Flash. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45031919)

Those real world speeds involve some mixed seeks typically. in the case he's talking about you'd put the dedicated area in the outside track of the hd and you'd likely end up seeing closer to 200MB/s since you can write everything from flash right out to the disk no need to seek. That would mean you'd only have to spin the disk for about 18 seconds. Still a long time at waay higher power requirements than flash but I thought I would point it out.

Re:not actually write caching blocks copied to fla (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45031117)

Current SAS raid controllers have pretty much that. DRAM + NAND flash + supercap, write ram to flash on power loss, restore flash to ram on power-up.
Solves the common problems with battery backed DRAM like constantly having to check/replace the damn battery and prolonged power outages killing unwritten data (which usually hosed the whole array).

test results? 512MB battery backed unimpressive (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#45032579)

Do you happen to have any real world comparisons between these newer and some other options. The 512 MB of battery backed RAM in my 3ware 95xx SHOULD be awesome for some workloads where it's not. It's better than turning off the cache, but it's not what I was hoping for.

Since mdadm software raid is much faster than the 3ware for my raid 5, I'm hesitant to spend $$$ on a high end raid card that likely will be slower and less compatible than modern software raid. When bcache is in the vendor kernels THAT looks like a giant win with some PCIe flash.

I was wrong. This gen caches some writes to SLC (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#45031155)

After reading TFA, I was wrong, that was the previous model. This model does cache some writes in an area of the flash operated as SLC.

Re:not actually write caching blocks copied to fla (1)

citizenr (871508) | about a year ago | (#45032781)

its called OS cache, just allocate 4GB of ram to caching and be done with it
good luck with power outages tho

Re:oops (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year ago | (#45030993)

These drives would maybe last a year or two if you're lucky.

So, ten times longer than the average Seagate drive, then? That's actually pretty good for them! Eh, it's a joke, but based on reality. I've had so much bad luck with Seagate since they bought Maxtor, I don't buy their products anymore, ever.

Re:oops (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#45031445)

I have plenty of Seagate drives.

I usually retire them for being too small before they actually fail. Although I do have a few older ones that I've kept around because they continue to chug along and simply haven't generated any SMART warnings yet.

It will be about 5 years before any of my SSDs or Hybrid drives have been in service as long. It will be awhile before ANYONE can say that actually.

That's the problem with the newest shiny shiny. No track record yet.

Re:oops (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | about a year ago | (#45033293)

I had 2 of the three first Intel SSDs die... one just stopped, and the other had the bug where it started showing up as 8mb... I consider it gen 1.5 SSD really... but the speed difference is so large I wouldn't go back. Just dropped a 240gb into my desktop, keeping the 120gb already there.. my laptop has a 256gb too...

Re:oops (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year ago | (#45031291)

Why not just use actual RAM for caching? It wouldn't even have to be particularly fast RAM. and then put some kind of battery on the drive in the case of a power outage. Currently drives have something like 64 MB of cache, but RAM is pretty cheap. Why not just put 8 GB of RAM on the drive, and use that for caching? Personally, I find my computer plenty fast, even with a spinning hard drive, as I have lots of RAM and modern systems are pretty good at doing their own caching. Sure it's a little slow if I need to do a whole lot of writes, but that's not a major use case of mine.

Re:oops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45031613)

Ask anyone who had to babysit dozens of servers with raid controllers with BBUs and you know why.

Re:oops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45031781)

This is the first time I've ever seen any praise for OCZ SSD reliability...
From what I understand, OCZ has historically had horrible memory controller issues leading to something like 40% failure rates at 2 years.

Re:oops (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year ago | (#45032553)

When I Was in the market for and SSD, as I recall they had a really rocky start, but have of late gotten their shit together and put out decent quality products.

Re:oops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45032031)

So is the Momentus XT laptop drive that I've had in my machine since 2010. It's been running over three years now, and if any flash cells have "died" the drive still works fine. I suspect that the flash area will over time develop bad blocks which will no longer be used.

Warren

Huh? (4, Informative)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#45030393)

I've had one in my desktop for a couple years now.

Re:Huh? (2)

macraig (621737) | about a year ago | (#45030533)

These aren't yer momma's Momentus drives. These are NEW and ADAPTIVE!

Re:Huh? (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#45030565)

Also those old ones blue screened at least once per day. Apparently multiple firmware flashes still couldn't fix certain ones that couldn't properly move instructions around to put "commonly loaded" data into the cache area.

Re:Huh? (2)

BLToday (1777712) | about a year ago | (#45030709)

What? I still use my first generation Momentus XT (500GB with the 4GB of SLC), never had any BSOD after firmware SD23. Of course, the damn thing doesn't spin down on my laptop. Or if it did, it would lag as it spins up.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45033367)

+1 on this. Same disk, but in a first-gen Intel-based MacBook Pro. Never had an issue with it and the disk is noticeable faster than an ordinary drive i daily use.

Re:Huh? (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about a year ago | (#45031927)

I belive you're confused because you use the normal definitions of "debut" and "news", not the slashdot ones.
Even though people have been using this for over a year, it's still called "debut", because it's a slow news day.

Amen (1)

djupedal (584558) | about a year ago | (#45030403)

"But dual-drive setups are probably the better solution for most desktop users."

Re:Amen (4, Funny)

bobbied (2522392) | about a year ago | (#45030505)

Linus Torvalds agrees with you...

Re:Amen (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#45030611)

Definitely not. 32GB cache drives force you to buy an overpriced motherboard with a rather odd Intel chipset (maybe AMD has one too). Then if power is lost basically ever, you're screwed. Data transfers at 5:1 speed difference between an SSD cache drive and a traditional hard drives can stack up to whole minutes. You'll be cutting files in half left and right and from what Intel claimed, there is no magical remedy. They recommend a UPS.

Re:Amen (1)

timeOday (582209) | about a year ago | (#45031033)

What configuration are you referring to? I would think the normal strategy for a dual drive setup is to have an SSD for the OS and applications, and an HDD for big bulk data like video, and backup of the SSD. (Add another HDD if you want to be able to back up more of your bulk data than the SSD can hold). Seems simple and effective enough.

Re:Amen (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#45031465)

> Definitely not. 32GB cache drives force you to buy an overpriced motherboard

No. They just require that you have a decent amount of SATA ports.

Considering that one of the cheapest motherboards I could lay my hands on 6 years ago had 6 SATA ports on it, this should not be a problem.

Although you can never trust the name brand pre-packaged kit. Some of those machines are like oversized Mac Minis. Then again, SATA cards are cheap too making expansion possible even on some lame-*ss Compaq.

Re:Amen (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#45032253)

Definitely not. 32GB cache drives force you to buy an overpriced motherboard with a rather odd Intel chipset (maybe AMD has one too). Then if power is lost basically ever, you're screwed.

Perhaps for the Intel caching application, but not for just having a big disc for data and an SSD for boot/applications. For that, anything would do, and many laptops will handle second drives in the optical drive slot, as the optical drives are increasingly SATA. My 1+ year old Lenovo E530 will take 3 HDs (one must be the small format SSD, one in the optical slot, and one "regular"). Sure, I can't set up the intel proprietary SSD caching for HD application, but I don't need to. And power outages on laptops are infrequent and come with plenty of warning.

Only if you run Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45032383)

Windows might have to rely on proprietary fakeraid drivers, but Linux does not.

We use a mix of SSD and and HDD (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about a year ago | (#45030495)

The SSHDs are useful, but we tend to combine them on our multicore machines.

Different stripes for different tykes.

Secure Shell Daemon (2)

gr4nf (1348501) | about a year ago | (#45030501)

Came out for the desktop and everything else for that matter in 1995. Get with it, people.

Re:Secure Shell Daemon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45031315)

When I saw the headline I thought that too.

Although I was thinking that maybe some windows admin was making a story about his discovery of sshd. (The server not the client.)

Someone really needs to make these headlines less ambiguous. (But this is /. so chances of that are pretty much 0.)

Re:Secure Shell Daemon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45031989)

Although I was thinking that maybe some windows admin was making a story about his discovery of sshd. (The server not the client.)

Cygwin for the win!

bcache (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45030521)

I must say I find Linux's bcache much more appealing than hardware hybrids. I'm also not sure how this new hybrid drive would cope with software full disk encryption.

Had one in a laptop (4, Interesting)

HockeyPuck (141947) | about a year ago | (#45030523)

I had one of the laptop versions for about a year and a half now, and it's definitely an improvement over a traditional drive and considerably cheaper per GB than an SSD.

I'm not sure why the majority of the population wouldn't opt for these as they still give you decent capacity and speed over dedicated HD or SSD drives.

Sure they're not as good as a dedicated setup with a SSD and a HD, but then again, the average user can still install everything on their C: drive without making any changes from the default installation.

Re:Had one in a laptop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45030661)

...decent capacity and speed ..

pick one.

Seriously if I am having my Io cached *before* it is on oxide, I damn sure want to make sure it is redundant. This is the worst of all worlds frankly.

At least with an SSD the 'wait' between cache and Oxide is .. oh wait... there is no Oxide to write to. Screw that.

Have the IO requests up in the filesystem or down on the disk and not some mid between point (unless it is in more than one place). That is how IO get's lost folks and I am guessing the power is more than a HDD?

Fuck that.

Re:Had one in a laptop (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | about a year ago | (#45031325)

Seriously if I am having my Io cached *before* it is on oxide, I damn sure want to make sure it is redundant. This is the worst of all worlds frankly.

Maybe you should read up on the specs for these cache. The drives do not acknowledge the writes to the OS until the write has been committed to the persistent and non-volatile storage.

Re:Had one in a laptop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45030697)

I have one too. Love it. Though I've learned that bittorrents mess up the cache.

Re:Had one in a laptop (2)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a year ago | (#45030729)

The cache, whether it's flash or ram should be 'close to' the processor that benefits from rapid access to the medium.
Putting the cache on the other side of the interface always was and still is stupid. We don't need SSHDs. We need motherboard makers to stick flash close to the processor (in terms of access latency and throughput) on the motherboard.

Re:Had one in a laptop (2)

timeOday (582209) | about a year ago | (#45031103)

SATA is fast enough to keep up with the SSD cache. Your argument makes more sense for RAM cache. Except not entirely since some of the logic that the drive may use in deciding what to cache depends on information that never traverses the interface. The motherboard and OS don't really know what block is where. Anyways the amount of RAM cache that anybody would build into an HDD is now virtually free, like 8 to 64 MB. In other words, on the order of 1/1000 of system RAM.

Re:Had one in a laptop (2)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a year ago | (#45032169)

>Your argument makes more sense for RAM cache

No it doesn't. Ram cache doesn't give you the boot time benefit of a non volatile cache. It would still be better if that was hanging of a direct memory bus to the processor, rather than on the other side of a SATA interface. SSDs are only fast compared to rotating disks.

Re:Had one in a laptop (1)

Xyde (415798) | about a year ago | (#45032539)

Maybe call it something like, oh I don't know, Robson.

That's PCIe flash, it's crazy fast (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#45032619)

PCIe is very "close to the processor", and PCIe flash cards are available. They are awesome, but require software such as bcache.

Re:That's PCIe flash, it's crazy fast (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a year ago | (#45033433)

Yes. PCIe flash is good juju.

Re:Had one in a laptop (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year ago | (#45030787)

the average user can still install everything on their C: drive without making any changes from the default installation.

\

This one is important. I purchased the largest SSD I could reasonably afford(fiscally conservative), and found that messing with manually shifting programs around(lots of games) was costing me more time than what the SSD saved in quicker response times.

I'd like to buy a combo with a larger SSD, or see an automatic program capable of managing the caching, but these drives address a potentially huge market - almost as cheap as a HD solution while retaining ~90% of the 'real world' performance of an SSD.

I'd like to see a 16-64GB cache solution so the HD doesn't have to be anywhere near as aggressive in pruning stuff from the SSD, but I'm seriously interested.

Re:Had one in a laptop (1)

Simploid (1649955) | about a year ago | (#45031337)

Not disagreeing with you but for what it's worth, here is my setup:

256GB SSD -> OS + all applications + steam + most used VMs + http downloads

1TB HDD -> All multimedia (video+audio+photos) + backups + installation files + torrent downloads + less used experimental VMs

I only sometimes move Virtual Machines and some installation files between the two. If your SSD is large enough for your needs (256 or 512 in my case) then you won't need to move files around.

There are some cache SSDs available from various sources with 32GB and more capacity, but they are usually tied to Windows and can't be used on other OSs.

Re:Had one in a laptop (1)

lexman098 (1983842) | about a year ago | (#45031499)

I'm pretty sure windows can do it for you. I know it can at least do automated caching via USB sticks (for what that's worth). You can also buy external cards for pretty cheap that will make a hybrid automatically: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009LIPHNC [amazon.com]

Personally, I've got a 128GB SSD which only really fills when I get lazy about deleting games from my steam library.

Re:Had one in a laptop (1)

TheLink (130905) | about a year ago | (#45033309)

1) If the caching was better so I got SSD speeds and latencies (low latency is important to me) for almost anything that fits in cache (small copies and compiles) and full 7200RPM speeds for the real world large copies then I'd definitely buy just the SSHD. But that's not the case unfortunately.

2) If Seagate's SSHD never performed worse than normal desktop drives I'd be tempted to buy the SSHD AND an SSD. However for some reason it's actually slower in many cases (look at the real world copy speeds for example).

So overall it's a bit disappointing and a harder "buy" decision.

Seagate's offering is decent but not good enough to make their offering the obvious solution for people like you and me. We both know the manually moving files around takes time. But I want at least mid level SSD performance for stuff that clearly fits in cache.

As it is, with the high performance a real SSD gives me, I could play a game on the SSD while running a large copy to/from a cheaper fast conventional desktop drive and probably not notice a big difference (the latency is the big issue for the noticing part - and the article seems to indicate that Seagate's SSHD is rather bad at that). Doesn't matter if total throughput is a bit less, but if the game pauses for even 200ms it's noticeable.

Lastly if you're using Linux you could try linux's ssd caching in software. Not sure if it's better than Seagate's.

Re:Had one in a laptop (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#45031477)

> but then again, the average user can still install everything on their C: drive without making any changes from the default installation.

It's 2013 and this is still a consideration?

That's just plain sad.

Apple fusion drive (2)

tgibbs (83782) | about a year ago | (#45030815)

I've been using a conventional hard drive paired with a SSD in Apple's Fusion drive configuration. This is only for Macs, but it makes it possible to use whatever size SSD you want, and the system automatically keeps the most recently written data on the SSD, saving the user the trouble of having to decide what to keep on the SSD and what to keep on the HD. In practice, the speedup is quite dramatic.

Re:Apple fusion drive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45032481)

Yes, that is only for Macs, but after researching it, I would rather have the software independent Smart Response Technology from Intel. Nice plug, though.

Re:Apple fusion drive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45033127)

That and there's also ReadyBoost which I'd expect pre-dates either solution.

Not necessiarly (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about a year ago | (#45031031)

For one thing, it is annoying to have to separate the OS and whatever apps you want to launch fast on to a tiny drive from everything else. So it is of use to people that need cheap space, but wish to have convenience.

However another use is for people like me: Who have SSDs, but can't afford them for all their storage. I have a 512GB SSD for my boot and program drive, and another 256GB SSD for my samples. However I then have 2x2TB HDDs for storing data, particularly bounced audio tracks. I can't afford that in SSDs, just too much money.However the SSHDs, those I can, and probably will, afford. That wold give me SSD like performance for most things I do, no worries about a burst of multi-track writes overloading the media, but have cost effective storage to packrat large amounts of data.

I also could see them being useful in NAS units perhaps. Another level of caching to help accelerate random reads, while keeping disk cost down.

They aren't the be-all, end-all, but I see plenty of use.

Re:Not necessiarly (2)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#45031303)

For one thing, it is annoying to have to separate the OS and whatever apps you want to launch fast on to a tiny drive from everything else.

I just put / on the SSD and /home and /var (if it has to hold a lot of data) on the hard drive.

Oh, sorry, are you running one of those weird old operating systems that have that drive letter nonsense?

Re:Not necessiarly (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#45031467)

Drive letters have the benefit that you can be at different working directories on each disk.

Re:Not necessiarly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45031987)

For one thing, it is annoying to have to separate the OS and whatever apps you want to launch fast on to a tiny drive from everything else.

I just put / on the SSD and /home and /var (if it has to hold a lot of data) on the hard drive.

You mean, make fast access the stuff OS is good at caching, and make slow access to the actual user data?

Even on Linux that's just a load of nonsense.

Re:Not necessiarly (1)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#45032825)

Even on Linux that's just a load of nonsense.

Yeah, because I totally buy expensive SSDs so I can open text files fast rather than boot and start applications quickly.

Re:Not necessiarly (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about a year ago | (#45031951)

RTFS. This is a hardware based solution, not two separate logical drives, so you can just create on single root partition and stuff everything into it.

SSHD vs HDD + SSD + caching (1)

tdelaney (458893) | about a year ago | (#45031041)

In general, I don't see a lot of use of an SSHD on the desktop, at least not with only 8GB of NAND. There are significant advantages for a system (such as a notebook) where there is only a single available storage option.

However, if you have the capability to have both an SSD and an HDD you have a couple of much better options (e.g. on a notebook with an mSATA port or any desktop).

1. Install OS to SSD, manually manage installing things to HDD.

This will generally give you the fastest performance for the things that really need them, but you're losing a lot of your SSD to OS + hibernation file (if enabled) and you have to know how to manage multiple drives effectively.

2. Install OS to HDD, dedicate a portion of the SSD to caching (e.g. with Intel Smart Response Technology) and use the rest for things you always want SSD performance with.

This gives very simple drive management - by default you install everything to the HDD. The SSD caches the most-used stuff and you can manually move things which benefit most from SSD characteristics to the SSD. Definitely the easiest setup to usefully use an SSD when setting up a machine for someone else.

BTW this is how I've got my ultrabook set up (32GB SSD cache, 80GB SSD data partition). The 32GB of cache is approximately equal to the Windows 7 OS + Hibernate file (16GB RAM) so I'm not really losing any space, but it's being used more usefully. And things which greatly benefit from fast random access (e.g. source code trees) are on my SSD.

Re:SSHD vs HDD + SSD + caching (0)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about a year ago | (#45031321)

Here's a thought. TRY ONE! You don't see the use but you've never tried it so how the heck would you know if it works?

I tried it and guess what happened. The boot times on my computer dropped significantly. From several minutes to "end of churn" to around 30 seconds. My apps launch faster, game levels load faster (after the first load), and there's almost no churn during normal use. Works great for me on two laptops and a gaming computer. My gaming computer has an 8-port RAID controller built in and I was sorely tempted to put in 8 SSDs in RAID0 for ultimate performance. I can easily afford it. But the $140 hybrid drive was plenty fast. Dropping boot times from 30 seconds to 12 seconds isn't nearly as much of a boost as going from 220 seconds to 30 seconds. My game levels are already loading faster than the cut scenes. There's no practical benefit [for me] in having faster access times.

Your ideas of "simple drive management" are not simple. Most people wouldn't have a clue what you're talking about or how to go about accomplishing it. Hybrid drives are faster without the user having to understand the technical details of how to make it work. Not everyone wants to become a tech god and squeeze every possible bit of performance out of their system. Most people want to check a box on the order form and have it just work. "Add hybrid drive (faster performance): [X] - $39.00"

Re:SSHD vs HDD + SSD + caching (1)

tdelaney (458893) | about a year ago | (#45032375)

I know that SSHDs work. They work pretty well for what they are. But they don't work as well as an HDD + SSD cache drive when that is an option (which it isn't always).

And guess what - it's possible to have a check box "Add SSD cache drive (faster performance)" as well. As much as a year ago I started seeing Ultrabooks configured with HDD + mSATA SSD cache drive out of the box (in fact, my current work machine is one of them - although I replaced both SSD and HDD ...). The initial boot image configures the system to use it and the user generally won't even be aware it's been done that way (unless they're a techie and investigate).

This week I was speccing out a system for a family member (not a techie). I showed them the options of HDD, SSHD (this very Seagate that is being discussed) and HDD + SSD. They were told that with the normal SSD install (OS on the SSD) that file management would be trickier, but I don't think it registered. They "knew" that SSDs were fastest and so wanted the SSD.

I will be configuring it to use the SSD as a cache + fast storage. Some games will be installed initially to the SSD. When using it they'll probably never even think about the fact that there's more than one drive in there - they'll just install as per normal and leave the cache drive to deal with it.

BTW, configuration of an SSD cache drive is (on Windows):

1. Set SATA ports to RAID (this is unfortunately vital).

2. Install OS to HDD.

3. Install Intel Smart Response Technology software/driver.

4. Open SRT and enable caching.

Apple Fusion (1)

techtech (2016646) | about a year ago | (#45031091)

Yeah I have setup the fusion system with a Mac Pro (4 disk bays), with a OWC 128gb and a fast enterprise 7200 rpm disk. runs about half ssd speed range ++, Very stable very satisfied with it, there is good tutorials of settings this up on the net. Plus you have space for another disk that backups this combination every hr. Reason is that I use software that stores a lot on system disks, so this works better than buying expensive large size ssds.

Re:Apple Fusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45033153)

Yeah, none of that explains why you'd spend money on a reasonably sized SSD only to use it as a cache. I've paired plenty of 128/256 GB SSDs with HDDs with the default configuration for OS/apps on the SSD, data (including scheduled backups of the SSD) onto the HDD. It's not difficult.

Debut? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45031323)

I have been running sshd on my desktops since the 90s, since when is this new?

I've had SSHd running on all mu computers for 15y+ (4, Insightful)

arcade (16638) | about a year ago | (#45031417)

I really do hate overloading acronyms. SSH / SSHD is pretty well known already. It's what most unix folks (and I really do hope that that is the majority of slashdot readership) use to log on to servers every single day.

C'mon.

Re:I've had SSHd running on all mu computers for 1 (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#45032183)

Shhhhhhhhhhhd

Seagate Quality Sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45031437)

I've had their first generation SSHD drives for about two years and it has been so great that I ended up recommending the most recent (3rd gen) 2.5" drives to a friend. That turned out to live for only 3 weeks before giving me the embarrassment to have it replaced yet again.

As much as it is nice to have that "hybridness" in one form factor, this recent blunder will deter me from ever trusting Seagate again.

No... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#45031557)

A hybrid drive is better for MOST users. very few users can figure out how to configure windows to put /users elsewhere from the main drive. It's a HUGE design flaw that they dont let you pick it at install time like every other freaking OS on the planet.

True test (1)

gander666 (723553) | about a year ago | (#45031757)

Run PGP Full Disk Encryption and see if it performs well. That shit will screw it up good.

SSD+SSHD (1)

networkzombie (921324) | about a year ago | (#45032535)

I have my OS on a Plextor SSD and most everything else on the new Seagate 2TB SSHD. It works pretty well. If I need something to start up very quickly I put it on the SSD which still has 100GeeBees free. Boot time is about 4 seconds, but I sleep or hibernate, which is a 1 second startup. Why not use this as a secondary disk? It was like $15 more.

$40 SSD (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#45032609)

The idea of buying a $40 32GB SSD and using it as a cache instead of a hybrid drive is silly - those cheap SSD's wear out very quickly with sustained writes.

I don't know if it's SLC, or what, on the drives, but you can push a lot of data to disk and not break the SSD on these things, which is fairly remarkable for NAND flash.

SSDs aren't just about speed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45032995)

It's the noise! I just can't stand a machine that grinds when something is about to load. I can tolerate a little delay, if it is silent.

Wrong balance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45033279)

It really needs a 7200rpm disk, in a laptop form factor. 5400 rpm laptop disks really suck badly, even with a lot of disk cache.
This looks like a cheap and nasty way to extract a little more mileage from obsolete 5400rpm disk technology.
Avoid like the plague, if you see a disk that is 7200rpm in a laptop, unless you like crippled I/O.

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