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Seagate Claims 2.5" SCSI Drive is World's Fastest 218

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the like-a-supersonic-record dept.
theraindog writes "Seagate has announced a 2.5" SCSI hard drive that spins at an astounding 15,000RPM. The Savvio 15K is the first 2.5" hard drive with a 15K-RPM spindle speed, but what's more interesting is that Seagate claims it's the fastest hard drive on the market. Indeed, the drive boasts an impressive 2.9ms seek time, which is more than half a millisecond quicker than that of comparable 3.5" SCSI drives. The Savvio 15K also features perpendicular recording technology and a claimed Mean Time Between Failures of 1.6 million hours."
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Seagate Claims 2.5" SCSI Drive is World's Fastest

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  • would this work in a laptop, or would it just get too hot? has anyone seen the operating temp spec?
    • How many laptops do you know of that use a SCSI interface?
    • Re:laptop use? (Score:5, Informative)

      by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @12:33PM (#17648784) Homepage Journal
      Generally speaking, Seagate's Savvio line of HDDs are intended for server and enterprise storage (read: SAN/NAS) use, not for laptop use. 2.5" hard drives are particularly useful in some compact storage arrays or in blade servers. They probably consume wayyyy to much power for your average laptop. Also, most laptops don't feature SCSI storage. Most use IDE or SATA. It's possible that Seagate could, in the future, come out with a SATA version of this drive, but I don't think it's likely given the power consumption and heat characteristics of 15K RPM drives. Seagates laptop drives don't even break 7.2K.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by dreamlax (981973)

        Most use IDE or SATA.

        I think you mean PATA or SATA. IDE stands for Integrated Drive Electronics and simply means that the controller for the hard drive is on-board, and requires a suitable host. PATA and SATA are simply two different for the host to communicate with an IDE drive.

        We are used to equating IDE and PATA because PATA was the only widespread method of connection between the host and the drive. So while we all understand what you imply by saying "IDE or SATA", it is more correct to say "PATA or

    • by spun (1352)
      It will get hot. It uses lots of power. It only comes in SCSI. It is for small form factor servers like blades with well engineered cooling systems. These are latop drives in size only.

      I've also seen these 2.5" server drives used in cluster heads and RAID/SAN/NAS boxes as the OS boot disk. You can easily fit 16 regular 3.5 disks plus one of these, a slimline CD/DVD and floppy in a 4U case.
    • by NSIM (953498)
      Two problems: 1. It will be considerably hotter and more power hungry than standard laptop drives that spin at roughly 1/3rd of the speed. 2. It has a SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) interface which you don't find in laptops. So, no, you can't stick one in a laptop
      • by jandrese (485)
        That's not to say you won't find a company willing to put one of these (or two, in a RAID 0 array) in a "gamer laptop". Sure it sucks down 5w and is going to get mighty hot unless the ventilation is set up correctly, but that's far from an insurmountable problem. The bigger problem will probably be getting the SAS interface in there. Sure the laptop is going to be better classified as a luggable, but that's hardly unusual with "lan party laptops". If they can figure out how to cram an 8800GTX in there,
        • by NSIM (953498)
          Agreed, the issues are not insurmountable, though the SAS one is tricky, as you'd either need to put SAS on the motherboard or hope somebody will put a SAS interface on something like a PC-Card interface, neither of which is particularly likely given the small market for such devices.
    • by Kadin2048 (468275)
      I think the intended application is blade servers. Some blade designs put a disk on the blade itself, so they use 2.5" drives. They're usually designed with good cooling systems and power supplies, so the fact that you can probably cook eggs on it isn't so much of a concern.

      It ought to be fairly simple for Seagate to produce the same drive in an IDE or SATA model, by replacing the controller, using the same physical structure and technology, if there's a demand for this in high end "desktop replacement" not
  • by cpearson (809811) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @12:28PM (#17648708) Homepage
    They just keep chipping away at that Von Neumann bottleneck [wikipedia.org].

    http://vistahelpforum.com/ [vistahelpforum.com]
    • by macadamia_harold (947445) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @12:32PM (#17648762) Homepage
      The term "von Neumann bottleneck" was coined by John Backus in his 1977 ACM Turing award lecture. According to Backus: "Surely there must be a less primitive way of making big changes in the store than by pushing vast numbers of words back and forth through the von Neumann bottleneck. Not only is this tube a literal bottleneck for the data traffic a problem, but, more importantly, it is an intellectual bottleneck that has kept us tied to word-at-a-time thinking instead of encouraging us to think in terms of the larger conceptual units of the task at hand.

      So that's where Ted Stephens got his analogy. I had no idea he was such a fan of the Turing awards.
    • by timeOday (582209)
      Not really. CPU's outpace storage more and more every year. Reducing seek time from 3.4 to 2.9 ms is only a 15% reduction, and the improvement in sustained transfer is less than that. In the CPU world 15% is nothing, it happens all the time. Even if they somehow repeat this speedup twice per year indefinitely (which they won't), they'd still be falling further and further behind CPUs. Not saying it's a bad product, it's probably the best out there, it just doesn't reverse the trend of storage speed fal
  • I know that this drive is supposed to be a server one, but I'm still disappointed that the SAS standard is not properly compatible with SATA.

    SAS is pretty similar to SATA in physical connections, and most SAS cards support having SATA drives plugged into them. Sadly it doesn't work the other way around: you can't plug a SAS drive into a SATA connector.

    It's a pity that they didn't sort this out, as drives like this would be nice for workstation users looking for a little speed boost.

    Of course, it looks like
    • by PopeRatzo (965947)
      I'm using a pair of those 10k rpm SATA drives on my audio/video workstation and they're pretty quick. I tried a RAID array of regular SCSI 15k drives and there wasn't enough difference for me to notice. I saw it on the benchmarks, but it wasn't enough to make me want to switch.
      • You don't see a reason to switch, because the benefits of SAS are in reliability, not in speed. The mechanism inside an enterprise drive is different than that in a consumer drive, and you can see that in the reliability specs and the warranty periods. Given that most consumer data really isn't mission critical (as much as people claim it is), RAID 1 SATA drives are sufficient.

        Seagate Research presented a good technical article [usenix.org] on SCSI vs. SATA back in 2003. Much of this is still relevant today (though

    • by ErMaC (131019) <ermac&ermacstudios,org> on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @01:26PM (#17649728) Homepage
      SAS is not designed to be used by a SATA controller. If you wanted your cheapo SATA controller to work with SAS drives, it wouldn't be a cheapo controller. The difference between SAS and SATA is that SAS uses SCSI as its command language, which requires a whole different set of logic on the controller end.
      If you're a workstation user looking for a speed boost, then you use SCSI or SAS drives with a proper controller like workstations have since 1990.

      And Flash drives have almost no chance of penetration in the server market, which is where this drive is being targeted (not at Laptop or Workstation users). Don't let the 2.5" form factor make you think it's for laptops, it's for high density servers or blades.
      • And Flash drives have almost no chance of penetration in the server market
        What do you mean? I fully expect that rotating drives are on their way out. There's too many advantages to flash and the disadvantages with using SSDs in a server environment are being worked out as_we_speak. I'm willing to wager that within 3 years SSDs will beat high end HDDs in every desirable metric sans price- and price is just a matter of time.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by drsmithy (35869)

          What do you mean? I fully expect that rotating drives are on their way out. There's too many advantages to flash and the disadvantages with using SSDs in a server environment are being worked out as_we_speak. I'm willing to wager that within 3 years SSDs will beat high end HDDs in every desirable metric sans price- and price is just a matter of time.

          I doubt SSDs are going to come within a bull's roar of magnetic media in terms of cost-effectiveness any time soon (if they ever do).

          What I *can* see, is the

      • by drmerope (771119)
        SAS is not designed to be used by a SATA controller. If you wanted your cheapo SATA controller to work with SAS drives, it wouldn't be a cheapo controller. The difference between SAS and SATA is that SAS uses SCSI as its command language, which requires a whole different set of logic on the controller end.

        Just so. Except one detail: This isn't the 1980s any more. Buying or designing the IP for a SCSI aware controller is simple&cheap. The fab costs are not likely to be more than for SATA. So, this

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dfghjk (711126)
        SAS stole the entire physical interface from SATA and was deliberately implemented to allow combination SAS/SATA controllers. Saying that SAS isn't designed to be used by a SATA controller shows a total lack of understanding in the matter.

        SCSI doesn't offer any "speed boost" over ATA either and SAS is certainly not faster than SATA. It's the devices that may or may not be faster.

        Finally, solid state storage has been used to accelerate server apps for decades.

        This is apparently not your area of expertise.
  • I have 15k rpm disks in production since ... 2002 I think. The poster should mention data per actuator figure from TFA, because that is what really matters.
    • You have 2.5" 15k RPM disks in production since 2002? Who are you? And how were you able to make such bitchin' hard drives in your mother's basement?
    • by TeknoHog (164938) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @12:59PM (#17649238) Homepage Journal
      I guess what's new is the 2.5'' form factor. Smaller drives should be generally faster due to increased density, but they get a bad reputation from laptop drives with really low RPM.
    • I think the main idea is that you can hypothetically install more drives per rack or greater flexibility in the design of devices that need high performance drives. The 3.5" high RPM drives basically use smaller platters anyway, so it's not too much of a stretch to put them in a smaller enclosure, but there may have been concerns about miniaturizing other parts of the drive and still maintaining the enterprise-level reliability.

      I think the show-stopper here is that the drive stated capacities are still sma
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @12:34PM (#17648802)
    They've had 15K RPM SCSI drives for years and years. This is no big deal.

    By only using a 2.5" drive rather than 3.5 of course the average seek time is lower, because the read head doesn't have the extra 1" to cover. This is at the expense of all that extra storage area.

    You could get just about as high an average seek if you partitioned up a 3.5" 15K drive and only kept data on the inner partition.

    It's nice that they have these, but it's really not that super special. Why is this front page news?

    BTW, your laptop is going to need some serious cooling to use this, as 15K drives do get rather warm.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      >> By only using a 2.5" drive rather than 3.5 of course the average
      >> seek time is lower, because the read head doesn't have the
      >> extra 1" to cover.

      it's even more trivial than you paint. The 2.5 and 3.5 numbers
      represent diameter, but the head only travels on one side of
      the disk so to it the difference is only 0.5 inch as far as it
      is concerned.
    • by Fweeky (41046)
      It's news because it's supposedly the fastest platter based disk yet, and because it's the first major development in 2.5" disks in several years; in that time they've grown rather popular in servers, as seen in Sun's range of Opterons for example.

      This now makes the form factor even more competitive in IO-sensitive applications, and I dare say Slashdot has enough users interested in such a thing to warrant a FPP.
    • It's nice that they have these, but it's really not that super special. Why is this front page news?

      Maybe it's not super special... but check this paper out. [seagate.com] Figure 1 in particular (yeah... they are comparing 10k 3.5" to 10k 2.5"... it's an old paper, but the theory is the same.)

      Who would want faster 2.5" drives? People who want 6 drives in 1U instead of in 2U. People who want faster drives in their blade servers.

    • by TopSpin (753) * on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @02:43PM (#17650880) Journal
      This is at the expense of all that extra storage area.

      The people for whom these high end disks are intended aren't concerned with the "storage area" of individual devices. They care about the ratio of storage to spindles and arms. They buy things like this [tpc.org].

      Why is this front page news?

      Because it's a site about stuff geeks want to read. It's actually rather nice to hit the page and find some news about the latest incremental change in storage, as opposed to more [slashdot.org] move-slash, dot-on politics [slashdot.org].

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by noidentity (188756)
      "You could get just about as high an average seek if you partitioned up a 3.5" 15K drive and only kept data on the inner partition."

      Wouldn't it be better to put the partition at the outer edge of the disk, where you get higher data rates and more data per cylinder (and thus less head movement to get from beginning to end of the partition)?
  • ... becuase last week I ordered a server from HP with 2.5" 15k drives HP [hp.com].
  • I don't know about you, but every single Seagate HDD I've tested, both brand new and used give a lot of seek errors way above the SMART margin if you run SpinRite 6.0. I've experienced Seagate HDDs simply failing because of too many logged seek/ECC errors and Windows will freeze as it initially loads. I have never seen this type of perfomance with Samsung, WD, Fujitsu (SCSI) and Hitachi HDDs. Sure, not all hard drives are perfect but in my experience, Seagates have always given me problems to the point wher
    • by mungtor (306258)
      Everybody has stories like this. I have no problems with my Seagate drives, but I wouldn't put anything on a WD drive. Sure, it will be fast for 3 months until you lose it all. With most manufacturers it comes down to a particular model being a bit flaky, although all WD drives suck.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by D4rk Fx (862399)
        I've only had 2 of more than 12 WD drives die; one was because it fell while running from more than 8 feet off the ground, the other was insufficient cooling. I've had 5 of 6 Maxtors die, and I'm 4/4 with IBM drives deaths. 0/4 for Seagate, but they are my most recent acquisition.

        You're right, everyone has stories. I have 2 4 drive WD arrays that have been around for 3 and 2 years, no failures there. But I wouldn't trust any data to an IBM or a Maxtor drive.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by WuphonsReach (684551)
          And the flip side, I've owned close to 2 dozen IBM Deskstar drives (mostly 72-80GB). No more then a handful died before their warranty period expired.

          Most of those deaths were directly related to heat issues (poor cooling or poor airflow). Some were undetermined cause.

          From my experience over the past decade, heat is the #1 killer. Some makes / models are better at dealing with 50C+ temperatures then others. Maxtors seemed to be a bit sensitive to anything above 50C (and Maxtor drives were a real PIT
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by D4rk Fx (862399)
            I completely agree that heat is the #1 killer. Yes, drives will run hot, but they will last a lot longer if they run cool. Last I checked, none of the drives I run now were hotter than 30C. I haven't had any significant drive deaths in a few years. I had one that seemed like it had firmware issues, as it would just stop responding on occasion, but would be fine when the power was re-applied.
            On a side note, the hard disk in my laptop thinks that the Min/Max temps it's seen while operating is 52C/65528C. Now
        • by Yewbert (708667)
          My personal and professional experience tend to align more with this. I've personally had at least three Maxtors die *very* prematurely (the first time, a SATA, losing me a fair amount of data in the process) out of maybe four or five that I've ever bought. One WD death out of maybe half a dozen, and so far, 0 Seagate deaths out of what must be approaching 20. I tentatively think Maxtors may be more sensitive to overheating than other brands, 'cos the circumstances in most of these drive deaths included
      • I've had a few Seagate die on me for various reasons like cooling, etc, but I would have trusted them in the past. I've had no issues with WD. I still have one that has been running since 2000 without an issue. Maxtors have always crapped out on me. I've had to return the same model twice now.

        With Seagate buying Maxtor, the line will be blurred. I would hope that Seagate would bring Maxtor's quality up but I'm afraid it is the other way around.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Emetophobe (878584)
        And here is some anecdotal evidence to counter your claim that Western Digital drives suck.

        I have 4 250gig WD SATA drives (all model WD2500KS). I've had 2 of them for a year and not a single issue. Recently I bought two more and I've had them set up in a RAID0 array for the past 3 months without any problems. I use Acronis True Image just in case, but I haven't had to restore any images yet... IMO, these western digital drives are great, they are fast and quiet, and they cost less than $90 a piece.

        One major
  • by Timesprout (579035) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @12:39PM (#17648890)
    The laptop holding the drive was itself spinning at 5000 RPM to achieve this figure, which makes it slightly difficult to use.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Hao Wu (652581)
      Spinning your computer equipments that fast would cause serious damage to components. It would not work anymore, and using it would be virtually impossible.

      I think it is implausible that it was really spinning as fast as you say.

    • They spun the laptop at 15000 rpms opposite the drive so the platters never actually moved.
  • by dgerman (78602) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @12:42PM (#17648926) Homepage
    This is insane. The edge of the plate travels 3km a minute:

    2.5 inches diameter => ~20cm perimeter at 15k RPMs => 3km/Minute => 50m/s => 180 km/hr.

    • by DarkSarin (651985)
      Somehow, this is the most interesting and unique response to the article I've seen.

      That is really fast. So, now use your mad math skills, how fast would it travel if it was 3.5 inches in diameter?

    • by Qzukk (229616) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @01:05PM (#17649324) Journal
      For the metrically challenged among us, 180km/hr is 12025769.5 rods per fortnight, or really, really fast.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Hoi Polloi (522990)
        As a person with an astronomy background I prefer to use parsecs/hr (0.000000000005833401930 pec/hr)
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by KonoWatakushi (910213)
      That's nothing; in terms of rotating things, flywheel batteries [wikipedia.org] are much more interesting. They have achieved a velocity of 2km/s at the edge. (about Mach 6)

      Take a look at http://www.llnl.gov/str/pdfs/04_96.2.pdf [llnl.gov]
    • by CODiNE (27417)
      It also doubles as a cockpit anti-terrorism unit. When the pilot is attacked from behind he ducks and pops off the side of these babies... WHAMMO!! Flying blades of death!! Actually who cares that they can store data ... wiping out terrorists is the important thing!
    • by dcw3 (649211)
      This is insane. The edge of the plate travels 3km a minute:

      Well, it certainly is fast for such a small platter, but I recall servicing the old HP7906 removable platter disks back in the early '80s. During one of our moments of boredom, we did the math, and came up with a figure somewhere around 170mph on the outer edge of the disk. Granted, those platters were huge in comparison. I tried to find some specs, but had no luck in my five min. search.
      • I came up with 125-137 mph for my 14" Wang ;)

        I don't remember if it was 3000 or 3300 rpm and manual is at home.
        Those made one helluva metal lathe if they crashed the heads tho :O

        At least i wouldn't be scared to turn on this new little drive.....

    • At the rim of the platter there's nearly 8,000 g's of centripedal acceleration. I wonder if the engineers have to take into account the gradual stretching out of the disk.

      The math: 1.25" radius = .03175 m.
      15,000 rpm = 250 cps = 1,570.796 radians / sec.
      acceleration = r * omega^2 = .03175 * (1570.796)^2 = 78,339.98 m / s^2.
      1 g = 9.8 m/s^2, so acceleration = 7994 g's.

      • by hurfy (735314)
        hmm, good question.

        I posted about the speed of my vintage minicomputer. I have platters that i can see the g-forces trying to pull the alloy platter apart. The magnetic section is darker at the outside. It did pull even more than these little ones and it ran for 15 years. However it used a platter for tracking that would have migrated as fast as the data tracks so maybe it compensated for it. Adding a NEW removable platter may prove unstable now, if there were such a thing ;)

        Don't know how these little ones
      • I wonder if the engineers have to take into account the gradual stretching out of the disk.

        Quick answer, yes, but only to the extent that the structural form of the disk has to resist it up to a given tolerance. The rest of the variation is handled in the same way that other variations are handled (e.g., differences in electronic/magnetic component response times, motor speed variations, plate wobble, etc.) which are usually larger. And how do you handle it? Slow it down a bit. If they can mass produce

    • This is what i was trying to calculate myself.

      Except this is not insane, it is actually slower than my vintage wang minicomputer with the 80MB drive that weighs more than me.

      Best guess was 111 mph for this vs almost 125 mph for the Wang from 1980. (about 14" platter at 3000 rpm)

    • This is insane. The edge of the plate travels 3km a minute:

      Is that with or without a spoiler and type R stickers?
    • by rew (6140)
      That's why they don't have any 3.5" 15kRPM drives. Sure, 15k drives exist, and they come with the "metal" so that they fit into your standard 3.5" drive bays, but the disks are barely larger than what would fit into a 2.5" drive.
  • 2.5 and 15K?

    That sucker must screech like your ex-wife one day after your alimony payment was due.

  • The drives are 36GB or 73GB. This seems to be a standard size for SCSI, but SATA 2.5" drives have capacities in excess of twice that. Can anyone explain to me why SCSI drives always seem to be lagging IDE in terms of capacity? Does the increased rotational speed make them unable to discern smaller features on the disk?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by D4rk Fx (862399)
      The increased rotational speeds dictate that they must use smaller diameter platters, or risk the platters exploding because of the increased centripetal forces exerted.
    • Can anyone explain to me why SCSI drives always seem to be lagging IDE in terms of capacity? Does the increased rotational speed make them unable to discern smaller features on the disk?

      SCSI drives, while using a 3.5" form factor, use smaller platters inside so that they can spin at the higher rotational speeds. Thus, lower capacity. AFAIK, SCSI drives use the same bit density per square unit of linear measure as SATA/PATA drives.

    • by jimicus (737525)
      The people buying SCSI drives are going to be attaching them as part of a honking great array. The biggest concern is speed, and you get that by spreading the data across as many drives as you can.

      73GB doesn't sound so bad when you multiply it by 12 for the number of disks you plan to use.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rrohbeck (944847)

      Can anyone explain to me why SCSI drives always seem to be lagging IDE in terms of capacity?

      The main limitation for bit density on a high speed drive is the channel data rate (since you can't use anything but standard CMOS in a low power, high volume, low margin product.) If you spin faster, at a given maximum bit rate, you lose bit density. Also, for faster seeks, you have to put down more servo information (otherwise you may not see any servo bursts for some time while the head is crossing only data.)
      You can generally stuff more data on a platter by spinning it slower. That's why basic 2.5" dri

    • Higher capacity = lower speed. Most SCSI drives sacrifice capacity for higher speed.

      They probably have smaller platters, and also, less total platters in the drive. This means the drive has a smaller capacity, but the read head has the advantage of not having to move as far across the disk to read data, reducing latency and increasing performance (AFAIK).
  • Putting it in a 2.5" package is pretty cool, but there have been 15k rpm 3.5" drives since the early '90's, as far as I recall. My desktop Dell has one. Here's a review of three popular ones [xbitlabs.com]. And, for the record, the edge velocity on a 3.5" is considerably higher than a 2.5" for the same rpm.
    Correct me if I'm wrong here: 3.5" x 3.14 = 11 cm circumference, *15,000 = 1.6E5 cm/min, /100 = 1.6E3 m/min, *60 = 98910 km/hour.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      you are wrong... your figure is hundreds of inches/hour, not km/hour. 3.5" * pi * 2.54 = ~28cm circumference. *15000 = 4.2e5 cm/min. /100 = 4.2e3 m/min. /1000 = 4.2 km/min. *60 = 251 km/hour. the edge velocity for a 3.5" as compared to a 2.5" drive is simply the ratio of their diameters.
  • Doesn't this faster speed make the HDD make more heat and use more power?
    • Yes, SCSI drives run hotter and use more power than a consumer drive. A typical consumer drive runs at 7200rpm, while a 15k SCSI drive is over double that, at 15000rpm (they are quite a bit louder too).

      According to this review [techreport.com], the Savvio 2.5" 15K drive uses less power than older 10K drives. Also, it is twice as quiet as previous 10K models, that's pretty impressive IMO.

      These drives aren't cheap either, the 36GB version goes for around $450 while the 73GB version goes for around $840.
      • by antdude (79039)
        Wow, that's expensive. Thanks for thbe reply. I always didn't like the HDD speed in laptops/notebooks.
  • I was wondering what sort of angular momentum we're building torwards. Here are some interesting photos [berkeley.edu] of a 55,000 RPM "disk" crashing.

    (okay, so the platters are a little on the heavy side)

  • by chromozone (847904) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @04:42PM (#17653156)
    http://money.cnn.com/2006/11/30/magazines/fortune/ obrienseagate.fortune/index.htm [cnn.com] "Not so with Bill Watkins, the mercurial, salty-mouthed Texan who runs the $15 billion hard-drive king Seagate Technology. At a San Francisco dinner on Tuesday evening, he was candid about his company's ultimate mission: "Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn."

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