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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 xlsior (524145) on Friday June 15, 2012 @08:16PM (#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 smash (1351) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @12:16AM (#40342149) Homepage Journal
    The SSD part of the hybrid drive is more reliable flash than in larger SSDs, and it is used as cache. if it fails, the drive reverts to non-hybrid behavior.
  • by jones_supa (887896) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @03:13AM (#40342791)

    The only trouble with SSDs is they die quickly from repeated read/writes. A swap heavy OS like Win7 will kill one in no time.

    No. Typical SSDs these days are designed to tolerate even the heavy R/W of Windows just fine. Of course there's still crappy and unstable models on the market, but swapping shouldn't be a concern.

  • by Guspaz (556486) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @04:57AM (#40343053)

    I used a first-gen Intel x25-e as my only drive for several years, and when I finally retired it (because I bought larger and faster drives), it had barely scratched the surface of its lifespan. A modern SSD will last for years, or even decades, before it wears out.

    Look at it this way: even with the reduced lifespan of high density NAND, you get something like 3000 writes out of them (used to be 10k for the 45nm stuff, but write amplification is below 1 these days due to compression). On a 180GB drive, that will get you a lifetime write count of 540 PB. To hit that writing 20GB of fresh data every single day (which is probably way more than what actually happens in practice, even with swapping, which is predominantly read-heavy, not write-heavy), the drive would last roughly 74 years...

  • by Kjella (173770) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @09:02AM (#40343681) Homepage

    Look at it this way: even with the reduced lifespan of high density NAND, you get something like 3000 writes out of them (used to be 10k for the 45nm stuff, but write amplification is below 1 these days due to compression). On a 180GB drive, that will get you a lifetime write count of 540 PB. To hit that writing 20GB of fresh data every single day (which is probably way more than what actually happens in practice, even with swapping, which is predominantly read-heavy, not write-heavy), the drive would last roughly 74 years...

    Except 3000*180GB is 540TB, not PB. And I'd be very careful to equate writes with data. Downloading a 20GB torrent for example will lead to >>20GB writes as it writes data blocks and the SSD has to rewrite its physical blocks. A lot of apps write log files where one line = rewriting a block. I used an SSD very heavily and despite the 10k writes/cell rating it was worn out in 1,5 years, right now the health check on my replacement drive that I feel I've been treating nicely is already down to 64% in health after a little over a year. At this rate it'll only be good for another two years. This is with swap disabled, torrents downloaded to a regular 3.5" HDD but it runs 24/7 though.

    I used a first-gen Intel x25-e as my only drive for several years

    If you wrote that accurately you used an enterprise SSD using SLC cells good for 100k writes or so. For sure, if I say my 5k writes MLC will last me 3 years then a 100k drive would last me 60 years but your experience with that is pretty much entirely irrelevant to the current consumer market. A ten year old HDD can still be usable, I can pretty much guarantee a ten year old SSD in active use will not. I've accepted it due to the huge usability performance, but SSDs are very much consumables right now, if you can't afford to replace them regularly you shouldn't buy them.

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