Seagate Technology today announced it will begin shipping hybrid notebook drives in large volumes. Hybrid drives combine the large capacities of hard drives with a small amount of flash memory to deliver faster boot times, improved performance, greater reliability and lower power consumption. Seagate has seen up to 50% lower power consumption in testing.
The Momentus 5400 PSD (Power Saving Drive) hybrid hard drive, is the first hybrid drive from Seagate. Already available in a few notebooks, the Momentus 5400 PSD uses 256MB of flash memory to provide quicker access to data that can improve user experience and reduce the amount of time the drive’s platters spin. The drive is available in 80GB, 120GB and 160GB capacities.
Seagate says hybrid drives are the dawn of new era.
ÃƒÆ’Ã‚¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“The vision is this is the future of mainstream disk Drives,ÃƒÆ’Ã‚¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚ said Joni Clark, a manager for SeagateÃƒÆ’Ã‚¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢s product marketing team.
While thereÃƒÆ’Ã‚¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢s been a lot of recent buzz about Solid State Drives, Seagate views SSD as a niche product for those willing to pay a stiff premium. Seagate projects that the average notebook will cost between $500 and $900 by 2009, forcing OEMs to seek cheaper components, and avoiding costly SSD drives for mass market computers.
ÃƒÆ’Ã‚¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“Hybrid drives have 90% of thevalue of the SSD at 10% of the price,ÃƒÆ’Ã‚¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚ Clark said. ÃƒÆ’Ã‚¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“We donÃƒÆ’Ã‚¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢t see that customers are willing to pay more for less capacity.ÃƒÆ’Ã‚¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚
Some industry experts have questioned if there will be noticeable performance boosts compared to traditional hard drives, especially those with small flash memory modules.
ÃƒÆ’Ã‚¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚ItÃƒÆ’Ã‚¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢s not how much, itÃƒÆ’Ã‚¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢s what data it predictably puts in there that makes the difference for the user,ÃƒÆ’Ã‚¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚ Clark said. ÃƒÆ’Ã‚¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃƒÆ’Ã‚¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢s custom as to how users use their systems. If you’re a gamer itÃƒÆ’Ã‚¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ll go after the gaming fies.ÃƒÆ’Ã‚¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚
The Momentus 5400 PSD is the beginning of the companyÃƒÆ’Ã‚¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢s hybrid campaign and flash memory capacities will grow over time.
According to Seagate, four major OEMs have placed orders for hybrid drives, and are in talks with several others. The OEMs are paying a 15% to 30% premium for hybrid drives compared to standard hard drives.
All Windows Vista systems have native support for hybrid hard drives. In the near future, all notebooks that labeled with the Vista Premium logo will require hybrid hard drives. When this happens, Seagate expects sales of hybrid hard drives to soar.