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Seagate claims that its 500GB will offer the performance of a 16GB SSD

When it comes to devices like consumer tablets, we've all just grown accustomed to the use of fast and reliable onboard NAND flash for our storage needs. The use of NAND makes sense because of the performance and inherent robust nature of the storage medium when used in a highly mobile (and sometimes dropped) tablet.
However, using NAND flash isn't exactly cheap, so most tablets that we see these days top out at either 128GB in consumer devices or 256GB for professional devices. Seagate, a company that is deeply invested in producing HDDs, is maneuvering to extend its reach into the booming tablet market with new storage solutions.
The company is introducing its new 2.5" Ultra Mobile HDD that is only 5mm thin and weighs 3.5 ounces. Seagate says that this new HDD will offer 500GB of space (with an 8GB flash buffer), while offering power consumption that mirrors a 64GB SSD and performance that matches a 16GB SSD.
Naturally, Seagate says that its 500GB Ultra Mobile HDD solution would be cheaper than either the aforementioned SSDs.

Seagate's 500GB Ultra Mobile HDD (pictured on the left)
“Coupling an ultra-thin, high-capacity HDD with software designed to optimize integration into tablets at a value-add price has allowed us to deliver a truly ground-breaking solution, enabling our partners to reimagine the mobile device,” said Steve Luczo, president, CEO and chairman of Seagate. “By empowering our OEMs with this revolutionary new technology, we have invited the industry to re-think the mobile market making this offering a true game-changer in the world of storage.”
While the idea of getting 500GB of storage space with SSD performance at a lower price point sounds intriguing, we also have to realize that this is still a 2.5" form-factor device in a slimmer package. That means that the footprint of the drive will still take up a lot of real estate within the tablet's chassis. And that extra space gobbled up by the drive's packaging will mean less space for things like the internal battery.

Source: Seagate

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By Reclaimer77 on 9/10/2013 9:25:36 AM , Rating: -1
You cannot get SSD performance out of a physical hard disk. This is the worse kind of marketing flim-flam.

Seagate decided years ago to shun SSD's to continue pushing obsolete tech. Making a slow unreliable hard drive extra thin is hardly impressive.

RE: Impossible
By Myrandex on 9/10/2013 9:54:48 AM , Rating: 2
I believe they make this claim due to the 8GB of solid state buffer on the drives. Seagate has been working on hybrid drives to try and deliver performance of an SSD, capacity of a traditional hard drive, at a good price point.

RE: Impossible
By jimbojimbo on 9/10/2013 10:25:47 AM , Rating: 2
Sure, you're not going to get exactly the same amount of performance constantly otherwise nobody would buy SSD drives. However, you get comparable due to the cache. You do realize that all the leading storage platforms are now using SATA drives in an array with large SSD caches right? Yes, all that heavy IO data is sitting on SATA drives. It's the cache that makes it less relevant and for a single drive an 8GB flash buffer is pretty good for a personal computer anyway.

RE: Impossible
By FITCamaro on 9/10/2013 10:33:12 AM , Rating: 3
I wouldn't exactly call my 3TB hard drives obsolete technology. SSDs are still a long way from offering extremely large capacities at prices most people can afford. Today you can either buy a 256GB SSD or a 3TB hard drive for $130ish.

RE: Impossible
By Reclaimer77 on 9/10/2013 3:22:13 PM , Rating: 2
SSD's are gaining ground at an incredible rate. Hard drives are really reaching a plateau as data density increases become more difficult.

Think about it, the first commercial 1TB drive was in 2007. So in about seven years we've only been able to increase that to 4TB. There's also been no significant gains in various other performance factors. HDD makers are reduced to cramming platter after platter into the same form factor, because there's nothing else they can do to remain competitive.

The only caveat HDD's have left is large capacity, and they won't have that too much longer. They've been surpassed in every other metric, which is why I referred to them as obsolete. They are certainly still useful, I have a few large ones too for media storage.

RE: Impossible
By ritualm on 9/10/2013 6:07:37 PM , Rating: 2

A single 960GB SSD right now costs some $600+ before taxes. During a sales event.

That $600 before taxes can buy me either 3x 4TB 3.5" HDDs OR 5x 2TB 2.5" USB3 external HDDs. And this is while we're dealing with an effective HDD duopoly.

Keep pratce.

RE: Impossible
By Reclaimer77 on 9/10/2013 7:08:43 PM , Rating: 2
A single 960GB SSD right now costs some $600+ before taxes. During a sales event.

So what?

SSD's have only been on the market for a handful of years. Do you understand that? I remember paying that much for hard drives with capacities in the MEGABYTES!

Does a Ferrari cost the same as a Toyota? Sure if you take the same money as an SSD you can buy a bigger hard drive. But that's telling only half of the story.

Weren't SCSI drives and Raptor HDD's more expensive than slower hard drives of their era? Yeah, I rest my case. There's ALWAYS been a premium on performance, SSD's are no different.

And this is while we're dealing with an effective HDD duopoly.

Yes, today. In about 5 years the HDD will be done, over. It will have no niche left.

So yeah, I'm "seriously". It's only taken SSD's a handful of years to reach acceptable cost/performance/storage levels. Compared to HDD's, which took - what - 20 years?

RE: Impossible
By Samus on 9/10/2013 1:24:54 PM , Rating: 1
You cannot get SSD performance out of a physical hard disk.

Tablets don't offer SSD performance as it is. Most eMMC's are ~40MB/sec. Virtually no tablet or smartphone has a storage interface that is comparable to SATA1.

And aside from the bandwidth, mobile OS's are tiny. Android is something like 500MB now (for the whole OS) and apps are anywhere from 10-50MB. Music and video are not performance-dependent on their storage medium.

So the issue isn't the speed. It's the reliability and power consumption.

RE: Impossible
By Reclaimer77 on 9/10/2013 3:04:54 PM , Rating: 2
It's all marketing. Fast drive you say? Until it takes ten times longer to load apps or do anything, because it's still a mechanical drive, so the seek times suck. The random reads suck too.

Why are we even debating this? My goodness, it's 2013 and people are still thinking hard drives can touch flash memory?

Any device reliant on this product is going to leave the user with a miserable experience. And we haven't even touched on reliability yet. How shock resistant is this thing? One good drop of your tablet and it's probably bricked.

RE: Impossible
By ritualm on 9/10/2013 6:12:45 PM , Rating: 2
Archos already did it with a tablet using a HDD, and it has a diehard following despite the very claims you make here that amount to a miserable experience.

"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer

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