back to article Seagate to start shifting SSDs

The CEO of hard disk drive (HDD) maker Seagate Technology has declared the firm's intention to enter the Flash memory market. Bill Watkins said in an interview with CNET that Seagate will begin shifting solid-state drives (SSD) based on Flash memory chip technology from next year. It's a marked move away from the world's …


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  1. Art

    Flash in the pan?

    I seem to recall that the lifetime for NAND-based flash devices is in the order of 500,000 erase/write cycles; how does this compare with Seagate's HDDs?

  2. John Stag

    Weird claim...

    "....some claim the advantages of SSDs include less power consumption and faster data retrieval."

    Only _some_ ...?

  3. Brett Brennan

    SSD resurects old tablet

    Seagate's entry to the SSD market is an endorsement of the technology. For notebooks, tablets and sub-laptop and sub-tablet PC, this is the only way to go forward.

    I am already using a Samsung 1.8" SSD in my old NEC Versa LitePad tablet PC. WIth the original Toshiba 20GB magnetic drive (an iPod drive), the tablet was too slow to get out of its own way. Switching to the SSD has actually made the tablet (a 977Mhz P3 based system) completely usable for the first time since I bought it in 2003. And the battery life has DOUBLED.

    If an SSD can do that much for an old tablet, think of what it will do for more modern machines.

    All I can say is...when these drives become available in reasonable sizes, buy 'em up and replace your laptop and mini drives!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They're only *guaranteed* for that number of writes

    In practice they'll usually work for much longer, and the firmware which drives them has an efficient algorithm for distributing the writes across different sectors (sure the forensic people will love that! You try securely erasing a flash device and each 'overwrite' actually writes to a completely different area of memory doing nothing at all to securely erase it)

  5. Ian Michael Gumby

    Forget the laptop...

    If you're doing any e-commerce web based OLTP app, you'll want to set up a raid of these drives for your database.

    Most OLTP apps don't have very large databases so you could put 4 or 5 of them in a hot swappable configuration. These drives come with a MTBF rate of several years (2+million hours) so that you can expect to have to replace them.

    As the price goes down, this becomes an attractive option for SMB operations.

    Although the prices I saw for 16GB SSD drives was still cost prohibitive.

    (SATA connections)

  6. Matthew LaShure

    Great... but...

    While it's great they're going to start mass production... why are they starting it on a technology already faulted with having an extrememly short lifetime. SSD drives while bright and promising, have the fault that they only allow so many writes before they go down the crapper. Using this as a primary and only drive for the computer is just dooming you to a quick demise.

  7. Nexox Enigma

    Write Limit

    500,000 to 1,000,000 writes is actually a hell of a lot. I saw some maths a while back that worked out that on a fairly heavy load with rather unintelligent write distributing code, 100,000 writes would last something like 3 years. I dunno about anyone else, but I wouldn't trust a magnetic hard drive for that long.

    And as a plus, these things are virtually unaffected by shocks, magnetic interference, heat, and gods know what else that causes magnetic drives to die frequently. Plus they'll run cooler, which will make everything else in your laptop run better.

    Plus laptop drives die constantly, since they are rarely cooled properly, handled poorly, and generally try to fit too much stuff inside too small a space. Anyone that relies on one of those without backing it up frequently is going to be worse off than an SSD user.

    And seek times. Has anyone thought about the loss of seeking? With a modern drive that is attempting to read 2 files at the same time on different points of the drive, they only spend about 5% of the time actually reading, the rest is just seeking. Laptop drives seek especially slowly, so this will be a massive boost to performance on loads of tasks.

  8. John Watts

    Limited number of writes

    Good point everyone who's made it.

    I bet Seagate hadn't thought of that! You'd better ring them and tell them.

  9. Michael

    @ Matthew LaShure

    Because, quite simply, they're a business, and they want to make money. Once you've worked with the access speed of a SSD, when it dies, you're not going to go back to a magnetic drive, you're going to buy another SSD. It's not quite planned obsolescence in the truest sense of the term, but it's close, and from a business standpoint, it's brilliant.

  10. Sampler

    One of the best HDD manufacturers...

    ...are making SDD's - i think i need a change of underwear!

  11. p.suarez

    from a user point of view.

    I think the move towards SSD is fantastic. I just think of the few laptops I live with running ANY % of time more on a battery charge, that alone would do.

    Sturdier, what about thinner and what about less heat.

    I think that means doing with less, even with out fans, NO moving parts in a laptop, FINNALY.

    From a technical standpoint. I wish hardisks were as reliable and good all around when they started out as SSDs are now.

    My vote: “a hell of a change” ..way to late..

    Since memory does not occupy space in the way HD (platters do) why not make something more flexible.. say a solid state memory that could grow as you needed it.. Buy more units plug them in like you plug a flash card now.. have some hardware to do raid with them.. Forgive my lack of technical knowledge, but just maybe.. :)

  12. Steve

    Read/write failure rate

    People who are flagging up the SSD bit failure rate should acquaint themselves with exactly how HDDs mitigate against such bit failures; then perhaps they could appreciate how redundant their comments are.

    I say bring it on, I would have one!

  13. tom truong

    Cost Ratio, SDD vs HDD.

    "As the price goes down"...

    Hear that a lot. But for TODAY's prices at NewEgg:

    Laptop drives (2.5")

    SamSung 64GB SDD: $1299.00 (~ $20.30/gig)

    Toshiba, WD, etc... 80GB HDD: around $60.00 (~ 0.75/gig). A 27:1 ratio.

    For desktop (3.5"), a 500G goes for about $100 (~ 0.20/gig). A 100:1 ratio.

    Until the cost ratio reaches 10:1 or less (which it did for the 1.0" and 1.8" platform a la iPod), we then may dare the HDD vs SDD decision. The 1TB video iPod will be here eventually (perhaps in the form of a phone?), what would it have inside?

    Both SDD and HDD technologies are dependent on geometry shrinks for density growth. What's on the horizon for SDD? 32nm? HDD 250G/platter is reaching 2.5", and soon will reach 1.8" then 1.0" (SDD territory)

  14. John Kirkham

    A quote from dvnation on SSD's read write cycles.

    "Q: I hear people in forums cry about the number of read/write cycles. How long will a modern SSD last?

    A: First-generation SSDs had an expectation of 1,000,000 write cycles. With technologies such as wear leveling, and the newest NANDs, that has increased to 5,000,000 write cycles. Manufacturer suggest a 10 year life expectancy. 3.5" hard drives come with a 3 to 5 year warranty. SSDs are so reliable that they have been sent to Mars on Mars Rovers. You can't do that with something that won't last. We have been selling PQI SSDs since the middle of 2006 with no returns for any reason. On the other hand we have purhased numerous 2.5" laptop mechanical hard disks that failed within 2 to 3 weeks! This WON'T happen with solid state disks! SSDs should outlast the useful life of your system."

  15. Phil Robins

    Confirm SSD

    I am shortly going to be distributing SSD drives in the UK and our manufacturer state a 10 year lifecycle. Check out the speed difference too at

    We also are distributing Dual Plus Drives (Solid State ExpressCard/USB 2 technolody) which are ReadyBoost compatible.

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