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Data Storage Upgrades Hardware

Hybrid Drives Struggling In Face of SSDs 256

Posted by timothy
from the great-enemy-of-the-good dept.
Lucas123 writes "New numbers show hybrid drives, which combine NAND flash with spinning disk, will double in sales from 1 million to 2 million units this year. Unfortunately for Seagate — the only manufacturer of hybrids — solid-state drive sales are expected to hit 18 million units this year and 69 million by 2016. Low-capacity, cache SSDs, which typically have 20GB to 40GB of capacity and run along side hard drives in notebooks and desktops, will see their shipments rise even more this year to 23.9 million units, up by an astounding 2,660% from just 864,000 units in 2011. Shipments will then jump to 67.7 million units next year, cross the hundred-million-unit mark in 2015, and hit 163 million units by 2016, according to IHS iSuppli. If hybrid drives are to have a chance at surviving, more manufacturers will need to produce them, and they'll need to come in thinner form factors to fit today's ultrabook laptops."
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Hybrid Drives Struggling In Face of SSDs

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  • by couchslug (175151) on Friday June 15, 2012 @06:37PM (#40340599)

    Suppliers, competing for my money.... (weeps) :-)

  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Friday June 15, 2012 @06:42PM (#40340629)

    New numbers show hybrid drives, which combine NAND flash with spinning disk, will double in sales from 1 million to 2 million units this year. Unfortunately for Seagate â" the only manufacturer of hybrids â" solid-state drive sales are expected to hit 18 million units this year and 69 million by 2016.

    How is this unfortunate for Seagate? Sure, more pure SSDs are being sold than hybrids, but there is more competition in that market, whereas hybrids are a market Seagate completely owns that is expecting 100% year-to-year growth. Seems to me, there is no bad news for Seagate in that.

    • by Galestar (1473827) on Friday June 15, 2012 @06:55PM (#40340725)
      +1 to parent. -1 to story. I think I've just about had it with the patently false summaries and articles from slashdot. Peace out.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Runaway1956 (1322357)

        Agreed. Sometimes, I read an article like the one above, and the critical thinking thing is slow to kick in. But, bottom line - no one has ever proven a real ability to predict the future. At best, an educated person makes deductions based on data about past performance. The problems with the predictions above begin with the fact that SSD prices are falling.

        In 2016, why would ANYONE buy a comparatively slow hybrid, if he could get a comparatively sized SSD for only 5% more money? Or - what if the SSD i

        • by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Saturday June 16, 2012 @12:34AM (#40342451) Journal

          Because so far nobody has been able to do shit about the crazy failure rates [codinghorror.com] when it comes to SSDs and as they all become MLC and continue to have process shrinks those numbers are simply gonna get worse?

          And before anybody posts that Google study please don't bother, I'd argue what Google sees is pretty fucking far from what a normal person sees when it comes to use. And what I've seen is unless you drop the things HDDs generally (not 100%, but I'd say 85%+) give you some warning before they shit themselves and die, usually enough to get your data off. that has NOT been my experience with SSDs, which just die. No warning, no errors to give you a heads up, no SMART, just flip the switch and all your stuff is gone.

          That is why I tell my customers IF you are only using the SSD for the OS AND you have pretty damned regular backups of said OS? Then please go for an SSD. the nice thing about the hybrids is the entire SSD portion can die tomorrow and you STILL have a fully functional drive with NO lost data, as everything on the SSD is also backed up to the HDD. But until they can fix the problem with the crazy failure rate, which i bet is gonna get a hell of a lot worse as the chips keep shrinking, then its gonna be a gamble that I bet a lot of people after their first failure won't make again.

          The numbers I'd really like to see is how many that switched to SSDs had a failure of the drive and how many chose to stay with SSDs after the failure. Because I bet a lot of people weren't too happy the first time they got told "All your stuff is gone" and i'd love to see how many preferred to continue the risk after failure.

          • Once they start shrinking so much that they get too much recalls and a bad reputation, they will use part of the real estate on the die for parity and CRC checking. Sure, it will get worse first, but they'll sort it out once the competition starts forcing them to do so.
          • by Klinky (636952) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @03:25AM (#40342993)

            If anecdotal evidence on SSDs scares you perhaps you should re-review Google's hard data on hard disk failures. Certain brands of SSDs are already many times more reliable than hard drives if looking at failure rates over time. Hard drives are no more reliable. You will find plenty of anecdotes in NewEgg reviews of people buying x number of hard drives and y number of them arriving DOA or dying in 3 months.

            http://static.googleusercontent.com/external_content/untrusted_dlcp/research.google.com/en/us/archive/disk_failures.pdf [googleusercontent.com]

            http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-reliability-failure-rate,2923-6.html [tomshardware.com]

        • by TheLink (130905)

          Yeah. The problem I see is even in 2012 the reasons for getting a hybrid drive are few! A lot of laptop users no longer need that much directly-attached space, when they're at home/office they have stuff like NAS/fileservers.

          IF seagate's hybrid drive performed better then it would make more sense. There's no technical reason why seagate's hybrid drive should perform worse than SSDs. But instead they take the easy crappy way out:
          http://www.anandtech.com/show/5160/seagate-2nd-generation-momentus-xt-750gb-hybr [anandtech.com]

    • by Smauler (915644)

      I agree... save for the fact they could possibly have expected the growth to be better (this is an emerging market, with such you're always going to have multi-digit percentage growth factors).

      I'm not sure exactly which market Seagate are aiming for here. The high performance market will go either entirely SSD, or one relatively big SSD and a huge magnetic for the rest of the stuff. The low performance consumer market will see the numbers, and take the cheap magnetic drive. The mid range market is possi

      • but then they have to compete against a tiny SSD combined with a normal magnetic.

        What about on a laptop, where you can only have one or the other.

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          The idea of a laptop only having one drive isn't set in stone either.

          Although if you really care, chances are that you are going to just go full SSD. This kind of lukewarm product is really the worst of both worlds: higher cost and lower performance.

          • by TubeSteak (669689)

            The idea of a laptop only having one drive isn't set in stone either.

            It's all about space.
            Anything Although if you really care, chances are that you are going to just go full SSD. This kind of lukewarm product is really the worst of both worlds: higher cost and lower performance.

            There is a market niche for hybrid drives as an intermediate step between disks and SSDs,
            just like there is a market niche for hybrid cars as an intermediate step between gas and electric.

            I imagine once SSDs and electric cars mature, those intermediate hardware solutions will fade away.

            • by Guspaz (556486)

              Laptops that only have room for an mSATA port have all gone SSD-only, and laptops that have both an mSATA port and 2.5" bay can use a caching SSD drive in the mSATA port and a large traditional drive in the 2.5" bay.

              Heck, even my desktop is set up for that: I bought a Shuttle XPC, which has room for two 3.5" HDDs and an mSATA port intended for use with Intel's caching system. Their intention is for you to stick two multi-terabyte 3.5" disks in there and then put a 40GB SSD in the mSATA port or something, al

          • The reason for hybrid drives is that operating systems didn't know how to take advantage of flash memory as an intermediate speed stable storage, compared to low-speed disks or fast volatile RAM. But they're starting to know how to do that, using techniques such as Windows ReadyBoost, or using the flash for paging, or putting commonly used files on the flash, or whatever. So there's a market window we're getting toward the end of.

            Laptops don't always have room for a second disk-shaped drive, but that does

          • by asavage (548758)
            I finally upgraded my laptop with an mSATA SSD. Having the hard drive + SSD in a laptop is fantastic. Prices for mSATA had a big premium and lower performance over 2.5" SSDs until very recently. The 3cm by 5cm form factor is incredibly small and seems like it should take over soon for any small laptop. The only downside is I don't know if any laptops have more than 2 SATA 3 ports so most set them for the 2.5" and DVD locations. 265 MB/s write and 280 MB/s read is still amazing not to mention about 800x
        • by JanneM (7445)

          What about on a laptop, where you can only have one or the other.

          Even the smaller Thinkpads take two drives if you want - three if you add an mSATA SSD. I just ordered a 14" model with an SSD as primary and a largish HD as a secondary drive for exactly this setup.

          • Not once you're down in the 11" range.
            • by JanneM (7445)

              True - mostly. A hybrid drive of some sort would make a lot of sense on a small laptop. Although you are less likely to need large amounts of storage on a small laptop - it doesn't really have the power or memory to deal well with large datasets, and the screen is not really good for image editing and stuff like that. Perhaps most users are satisfied with the price-performance os pure SSD drives on such machines.

              ALso, I don't know how common mSATA support is yet, but small laptops with a supported PCI Expre

      • by chrylis (262281) on Friday June 15, 2012 @08:12PM (#40341345)

        I'm not sure exactly which market Seagate are aiming for here.

        *raises hand*

        I put one of the 750GB XT's in my laptop and have been thoroughly pleased with it. It's nice to talk about having one SSD for caching and then platters for big storage of everything else, but the point of the hybrid drives is that you don't have to split up your partitions and manually allocate data between the two. A device-mapper target could theoretically do the same thing, but I'm only aware of one quite new third-party driver for Windows that attempts this sort of mapping, and in the meantime, I'm satisfied with near-instant application launches from my XT without having to touch a thing.

        • by QQBoss (2527196) on Friday June 15, 2012 @09:48PM (#40341803)

          It's nice to talk about having one SSD for caching and then platters for big storage of everything else, but the point of the hybrid drives is that you don't have to split up your partitions and manually allocate data between the two.

          caching: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. :)

          If you have an SSD set up as a caching drive, there is no need to split anything up, it works just like the Momentus (though a particular chipset like the Intel Z68 or another solution might be required to make it work). Perhaps you are thinking of using an SSD for a boot drive + critical performance apps (for some definition of critical, I am sure WoW counts as critical, sure), plus a spinning platter for bulk data + lower performance apps?

          Personally, I like having a 240 GB SSD with ~20 GB allocated to caching my 2 TB data drive (the Z68 chipset makes this possible [anandtech.com], I don't know if other methods allow it), and the remaining ~220 GB allocated as my boot drive. But I do this on a desktop, not a notebook. I am fortunate to not have any performance oriented requirements related to disk access on my notebook at this time.

          • by chrylis (262281)

            I did get a sloppy; my default mode of thinking about SSD+platters is using SSDs as journals for a transactional datastore. That said, while SRT is a nice feature, it's not universally available (even on Sandy Bridge motherboards), and support under anything but Windows leaves something to be desired. A hybrid disk drive is all-around simpler and (for now) a bit cheaper.

        • It's nice to talk about having one SSD for caching and then platters for big storage of everything else, but the point of the hybrid drives is that you don't have to split up your partitions and manually allocate data between the two. A device-mapper target could theoretically do the same thing, but I'm only aware of one quite new third-party driver for Windows that attempts this sort of mapping

          In Windows, your L2 page caching is done with ReadyBoost. I'm almost certain Win 7 lets you use a SATA SSD with it, I'm not sure why it didn't do that originally. ReadyBoost was designed for USB flash drives so it has some logic to detect sequential IO and go direct to spinning disk for that. That might not make as much sense for decent SSDs.

          For a fileserver, you could use Solaris and ZFS. It has an L2ARC for SSDs and ARC is a really interesting algorithm that prevents your cache from being flushed by r

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        I'm not sure exactly which market Seagate are aiming for here. The high performance market will go either entirely SSD, or one relatively big SSD and a huge magnetic for the rest of the stuff. The low performance consumer market will see the numbers, and take the cheap magnetic drive. The mid range market is possible their aim - but then they have to compete against a tiny SSD combined with a normal magnetic.

        The problem is most laptops only have space for 1 drive. Unless they add an mSATA port, it means it'

    • by Darinbob (1142669) on Friday June 15, 2012 @07:32PM (#40341093)

      Because some people think that not being number one is the same as being a loser.

      • by pipingguy (566974)
        Canada's Hat raises hand, politely. Would you like to rent a bridge?
    • by iamhassi (659463)

      New numbers show hybrid drives, which combine NAND flash with spinning disk, will double in sales from 1 million to 2 million units this year. Unfortunately for Seagate â" the only manufacturer of hybrids â" solid-state drive sales are expected to hit 18 million units this year and 69 million by 2016.

      How is this unfortunate for Seagate? Sure, more pure SSDs are being sold than hybrids, but there is more competition in that market, whereas hybrids are a market Seagate completely owns that is expecting 100% year-to-year growth. Seems to me, there is no bad news for Seagate in that.

      but... but... Seagate said SSDs are doomed for at least the next decade or two, they can't possibly be wrong, right? [pcworld.com]

      Like I already said, hard drives are doomed. [slashdot.org] So sorry seagate didn't see it coming.

    • Spinning Drives suk. All the problems of fragility etc.

      They're only still here in Hybrid because of legacy synergy. If Seagate is smart, they'll recognize that this product doesn't just need to pay for itself "and yay we have profits", but it is the stopgap to pay for say two hard years of R&D where only SSD is where it's at. The "Oh $hit" dept.

      And with Moore's law or even halfsies thereof, solid state durable memory is where it's at. Yeah, First and even Second Gen gets all "phaw toy" from news media

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        watch it hit 750 gigs, roughly the point where a normal consumer can't max it out, and then it's lights out.

        "750 gigabytes should be enough for anyone."

        Remember folks, you heard it here first!

        • by TheLink (130905)
          Slow internet connections, ISP quotas and throttling might help make this true for longer.

          But if there's a sudden jump to widely available high speed internet connections, a lot of people might stop downloading and storing, and switch to streaming (assuming the **AA don't shutdown too many streaming sites).

          The potential saviour for Seagate etc is if more and more content starts being made for 2880x1800 and higher. Then home user storage and bandwidth requirements might go up.
    • by pipingguy (566974)
      In order to bring some sanity to this situation I propose that we adopt a 5 year plan during which some people will get SSDs and others will get the spinners. It'll have to be a random lottery-style thing, so as to not give the impression of market control.
    • by Dahamma (304068)

      It's unfortunate because Seagate doesn't *have* a consumer SSD product. In the end "growth" on it's own doesn't mean much. It's about margin and profitability, and when you only grow 100% in a market where your competitors are growing by 2000%+ you are going to lose that market.

      I'm sure you could have said "Sony Betamax had 100% sales growth" back in the 80's when VHS was growing by 1000%... how'd that work out?

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      Plus I'm sure even Seagate knows its product is designed for a very small niche, those that want SOME of the speed of the SSD but is NOT willing to give up the larger storage space of the spinning rust drives.

      So I really don't see Seagate crying very much over a niche product that is experiencing positive growth without really costing them any significant R&D.

      BTW if anybody has an article on these 'small caching SSDs for desktops" I'd sure like to read it. I've heard of small drives being used for ser

    • by Guspaz (556486)

      It's unfortunate in that Seagate (and most of the traditional HDD companies) have basically failed to break into the SSD market, which is rapidly replacing a good chunk of the HDD market. I think Samsung and Toshiba are the only traditional HDD manufacturers who have managed to significantly break into the SSD market, although they both largely do that via OEM stuff (Samsung does have some retail models which are pretty good, but review poorly). Instead, companies like Seagate and Western Digital just sat a

  • No Thanks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sexconker (1179573) on Friday June 15, 2012 @06:48PM (#40340669)

    You can keep your shitty caching schemes and your hybrid drives (which are just shitty caching schemes in a black box).
    SSDs all the way. If I need bigbadstorage, I buy multiple SSDs.

    The only problem I have with SSDs is the inability to securely erase shit without blanking the entire drive.
    Yeah, it costs more, but I get assloads of performance and power savings out of it.

    I just wish someone would make 3.5" drives besides OCZ. Hell - I wish someone would make 5.25" drives.

    • Re:No Thanks (Score:4, Insightful)

      by QuasiSteve (2042606) on Friday June 15, 2012 @07:01PM (#40340789)

      Hell, you can keep your 5.25" drives. Wake me when they bring back 8" drives. And what's this Flash nonsense? Get me a direct connection and DDR3 RAM backed up by a battery instead. Solves the whole 'securely erase' thing, too. Yeah, it costs more, but... etc.

      • You're such a wuss with your pitifully slow storage. I got me a PowerEdge R820 with 1.5TB of DDR3 at 1600MHZ, running all but 4GB as my RAM disk. The whole thing weighs like 80lbs and sounds like a jet landing.

        • by Yo Grark (465041)

          ...... The whole thing weighs like 80lbs and sounds like a jet landing.

          Just like my Sager 7280, can't idle without sounding like a jet engine!!!!

          - Yo Grark

        • by Anubis350 (772791) on Friday June 15, 2012 @09:34PM (#40341737)
          To win a competition at Supercomputing several years ago, to save power and enhance I/O speed we had an entire cluster running off a very lage ram disk on the headnode exported over IP over IB on QDR Infiniband to all our compute nodes. Since we couldn't use battery backup and couldn't back things up to the one hard drive in the cluster (the head node's boot drive) particularly often (and certainly not in the middle of data crunching, we did save results back to disk eventually) I spent the whole competition biting my nails (way back in 07 we actually had a power outage).
      • by X0563511 (793323)

        It works great until your transfer switch fucks up and you get a bunch of zeroes or massive bit rot.

        Delt with a product that had just such a scheme. Fucker would corrupt files if the power supply so much as twitched.

    • by Dogtanian (588974)

      If I need bigbadstorage, I buy multiple SSDs.

      I assume you have lots of money to spend on terabytes worth of SSDs. That's nice- but I'd say the majority of people don't have the money or if they do, probably don't want to spend it just to have all their storage be SSD.

      While they might not go for Seagate's hybrid solution, having a mix of SSD (e.g. for the OS) and HDD (for larger, less frequently-used files, etc.) is a good compromise with today's prices.

      I just wish someone would make 3.5" drives besides OCZ. Hell - I wish someone would make 5.25" drives.

      Why- can't you just put the 2.5" models in an adaptor to fit a 3.5" or 5.25" port? Is form factor

      • Why- can't you just put the 2.5" models in an adaptor to fit a 3.5" or 5.25" port? Is form factor an issue with SSDs?

        I built a machine a couple years ago with 4 SSD's in a gizmo that gave me 4 2.5" hot-swap bays in a 5.25" bay. 1 slow MLC for OS, 1 fast MLC for ZFS cache, and 2 SLC for a mirror for ZFS log.

        That sat in front of 24 7200RPM Seagate 1.5GB SATA drives. Worked great except for the spinning rust failures. Wound up replacing most of the Seagates with 2TB Hitachis over time - they fail about 20%

    • by Kjella (173770)

      I just wish someone would make 3.5" drives besides OCZ. Hell - I wish someone would make 5.25" drives.

      Why? You see an almost perfect scaling. The cost of 1x1024GB ~= 2x512GB ~= 4x256GB ~= 8x128GB. And since you can already put $2500 worth of flash in a 2.5" drive [newegg.com], what do you need 3.5" drives for? $10,000 drives? Or 5.25", $100,000 drives? The way things are going it's more likely my next SSD would be a mSATA drive...

      • by the_B0fh (208483)

        err, have you seen how much 300GB+ SSDs cost? I just paid $900 for my samsung 512GB SSDs not too long ago. And the 1TB Octane is $2500.

    • So far the failure numbers for SSDs are pretty scary. I've been able to recovery data from plenty of drives before they totally failed but when an SSD decides to fail you're basically fucked.

    • by smash (1351)
      So in 2015 when i'm rocking a single 20tb spinning hybrid drive in my notebook, how are you going to match that with SSD?
    • by rve (4436)

      The only problem I have with SSDs is the inability to securely erase shit without blanking the entire drive.

      There are so many urban legends about file erasing...

      In the case of a spinning disk HDD: If someone is really worried about someone examining their discarded disks with a scanning tunneling microscope, an entirely theoretical possibility that, even if feasible in practice, would take years and 7 figure sums of money, I seriously wonder what they're trying to hide...

      In the case of an SSD, if you have TRIM [wikipedia.org] enabled (mount -o discard), which you should do, because it increases the performance and lifespan of yo

  • Brilliant! (Score:5, Funny)

    by stevenfuzz (2510476) on Friday June 15, 2012 @06:51PM (#40340693)
    Poor Seagate "will double in sales from 1 million to 2 million units this year."... With that kind of tortoise slow 100% growth they must be so sad. Poor poor sad seagate. Seriously, I do not understand this article or what point it makes. Obviously if ONE company is selling a fairly new product in a sea of solid state drives, they are not going to immediately overtake the old technology, and I'm not sure how doing so is the only way to measure their success. Am I crazy here? Was this posted by a bored robot?
  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Friday June 15, 2012 @06:53PM (#40340711)

    Then it wouldn't matter how fast or slow the hard drive is, because there'd be no need for treating it like memory.
    As for SSDs, I think they are too costly. A disk drive at 2 terabytes costs around $130. The same in an solid-state drive would be thousands of dollars.

    • http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2011/05/the-hot-crazy-solid-state-drive-scale.html [codinghorror.com]

      To quote the above:
      Thing is, SSDs are so scorching hot that I'm willing to put up with their craziness.

      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        >>>Solid state hard drives are so freaking amazing performance wise, and the experience you will have with them is so transformative, that I don't even care if they fail every 12 months on average!
        >>>
        "A fool and his money are soon parted."
        - Thomas Tusser.
        This guy's wasting thouands of dollars ond rive she KNOWS will fail. In contrast I've spent about $200 on external USB disk drives. None of have died, but even if they did die, I only lost a little bit of money not 10x that amount on SSD

    • by Jeremi (14640)

      Then it wouldn't matter how fast or slow the hard drive is, because there'd be no need for treating it like memory.

      Except during boot, of course. It doesn't matter how much RAM you have then, it's all empty and so you still have to pull in your OS and apps from the (slowish) hard drive.

  • I currently have a 750GB HD and 60GB SSD in my middle-aged Macbook Pro, which is doing fantastic, but with the recently low price of the 512GB Crucial M4 [1] which is now $.80/GB, I can ditch the spinning rust, archive some media to my large-ish NAS (this is not that painful even with large files using a dual-band N router), and be completely silent.

    [1] http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004W2JL3Y/ref=s9_simh_gw_p147_d2_g147_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-3&pf_rd_r=1ZFFKPT8NRYNA8KW97AW& [amazon.com]

    • I have the 512 GB SSD in the main drive slot of my MBP and a 1 TB Magnetic drive in the space where the super drive used to be.

      Hard to beat in a laptop. A few years ago, I would have killed for that kind of storage in a desktop.....

    • by pipingguy (566974)
      I have dual 120GB SSDs in this MacBook Pro (is that a "self-reference?) in RAID0 [1]. It's pretty fast. Not enough storage, though, and maxxed-out to 8GB.
      [1] Yes, it's backed-up.
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday June 15, 2012 @07:03PM (#40340799)

    We love those little Seagate drives at work, put them in laptops all over. They are a great way to get plenty of storage for not too much money and still have decent performance. No they don't compare to real SSDs, but neither does the price.

    Heck I use SSDs and I still have one. My new laptop has a 256GB SSD for the OS and apps drive, and a 750GB Seagate HHDD for data. Reason is those suckers perform like desktop harddrives. I'll spend the bit extra for the cache to have good performance, but it isn't feasible for me to go all SSD, just too much money (I play with audio that involved a few hundred GB of samples).

    • by pipingguy (566974)
      When the bits explode from a rotating drive you always have the option of collecting them manually from the inside of the case and re-assembling via backup. You cannot do this with SSD.
  • by proxima (165692) on Friday June 15, 2012 @07:14PM (#40340917)

    SSDs and hard drives fail in different ways, so it doesn't make much sense to me to combine them into one physical unit. Having both in one system does make a lot of sense, however, and making intelligent use of them isn't all that hard.

    Put your OS and basically all applications on the SSD. RAM is cheap, so unless you're doing something unusual you should not be hitting the SSD for swap. Documents and other small but important data can go on the SSD as well. Larger media, like movies, music, and large photo collections, go on the hard drive. The hard drive can act as the first backup for the SSD as well (but not the only backup, of course). I get that companies like Seagate want to have software figure out an optimal mix of where to store data based on usage, but I'm not sure that's such a huge advantage. SSD lifespan can be extended by reducing writes, and storing mostly applications there can really cut down on those, versus using it as a large cache.

    On a desktop, having these as separate physical devices is straightforward and very useful. If one starts to die (likely the hard drive), it can be replaced without affecting the other. An added bonus is that either the SSD or the HD could be upgraded separately as you need or as components become cheaper.

    On a laptop, things are trickier. Most modern laptops only have one hard drive slot, but it wouldn't be hard to keep a traditional hard drive slot and include, say, 64 GB of SSD on a small chip. Apple does this with most of their Macbook line now; an unfortunate side effect is that proprietary sizing or connectors make third party replacement more difficult, but there's no reason that your standard non-Apple companies have to go that way. There are already several SSDs in the 1.8" form factor, which should be reasonable to fit alongside the standard 2.5" hard drive form factor. A setup like this would be much better than a hybrid disk with a measly 4GB of flash; you're better off making greater use of suspend on your laptop and spending a little more to bump up your RAM.

  • by xlsior (524145) on Friday June 15, 2012 @07:16PM (#40340943) Homepage
    "more manufacturers will need to produce them" ? Somehow I doubt that's going to make much of a difference, given that we're down to just three companies in the world that manufacture spinning platter HDD's at all at this point in time: Western Digital, Seagate, and Toshiba.

    In the recent past, Hitachi's HDD division was bought by Western Digital, and Samsung's HDD branch was bought by Seagate.
    On top of that, Toshiba only makes 2.5" drives, which means Seagate only has one competitor left in the 3.5" market.
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday June 15, 2012 @07:21PM (#40340999)

    SSD's are not going to be that great for a LONG time, for those that need large amounts of storage.

    I have been doing a lot of digital photography for a while - I have three 2TB drives for RAW files, and one 3TB drive for a photo library.

    Not to mention I REALLY have 3x that, so I can maintain a mirror and an offsite backup.

    If nothing else large drives still make tons of sense for backup, so Seagate cornering the market on better forms of what are inherently secondary drives seems like an intelligent move.

  • Large main memory so there's always plenty of memory free, decent sized SSD as a cache, caching SW, and a HD RAID subsystem at the backend. That's how we've been doing it on big iron for years. Now if a hybrid HD had a couple 100GB SSD and a few GB of RAM we could talk. Otherwise your hit rate is just too low.

  • hybrids have had their time. The mass market wants SSD in their device and access to large cap HDs either via a cloud or networked RAID/storage. It makes sense because the average buyer either has multiple devices is often part of a work/family group that shares data and apps. Although it's nice to carry around a device with big storage, most of may storage is elsewhere and I'm happy with that.

  • I still don't understand the whole performance thing. I can stream DVD quality video and write to my current HD's at the same time. Why would I possibly need to go faster than that? Besides... I like the massive storage that's so cheap now!
    • by Junta (36770)

      You talk about streaming performance, which hard disks are perfectly fine at (some SSDs are faster than the fastest HDDs, but by and large that's not the type of storage load that SSDs are interesting for). SSDs have orders of magnitude lower access time. So if IOs are kind of all over the place (common in random os/application activity, games with lots of textures, etc), things work out well. Same reason people sweat fragmentation so much on HDD. On SSDs, fragmentation really doesn't matter.

      Some also j

  • I looked seriously at hybrid discs around a year ago, and basically ignored them when I found that they only use the NAND portion for read caching, not write acceleration... With the exception of the initial boot, which I'm not that interested in since I suspend and usually only boot my laptop once a month, it seems like you're better off adding 4GB of RAM to your box rather than using a hybrid drive. At least for my rare reboot case.

  • by Tough Love (215404) on Friday June 15, 2012 @09:39PM (#40341761)

    The technical argument for combining flash and spinning media in a single package is weak to nonexistent. It is far better to have the devices at different levels in the storage hierarchy separate and fully under control of the OS and applications, and have both devices be cheaper. The use case for spinning media in portable devices is vanishing fast and increasingly you will only see spinning media in online archive setups and huge databases. There is no advantage whatsoever to combining flash and spinning media in those setups, and only disadvantages like mismatched media lifetime.

  • The fact that I found out - the hard way - that Seagate's warranty starts when their product(s) leave the factory - NOT when you actually purchase is. I purchased a Seagate drive, which failed two years later, and I attempted to call upon the "Five Year Warranty" - but oh, apparently NewEgg had said drive sitting on their shelves for three years (NOT knocking NewEgg - I love NewEgg and will for many more decades) - but Seagate considers THEIR warranty to start when it walks out the door, as opposed to when
  • by smash (1351) on Friday June 15, 2012 @10:52PM (#40342057) Homepage Journal

    ... and I'm one of the people who fit in that niche.

    Given the choice between a single 500gb SSD and 2x 750gb hybrid drives, guess what I'll be taking. SSD is still too expensive for the capacity for some people - and for the price or less you can have "almost as fast" with fault tolerance.

  • by future assassin (639396) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @12:00AM (#40342329) Homepage

    Hybrid Drivers Struggling In Face of STD"S

  • I just built a system with an Asus p9x79 pro mobo

    Interesting feature: two of the 6gig sata connectors can be combined under one controller where one goes to a ssd cache and the other hd storage

    So you can roll your own solution of ssd speed/ hd capacity

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