Seagate Positions Slim, 500GB HDD for Tablet Market
September 10, 2013 4:20 AM
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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
256GB for professional devices
, 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.
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RE: Wait a second...
9/10/2013 1:17:36 PM
Nothing official, just large file transfer comparisons and general observations, and keeping the ear to the ground from things mentioned in various articles and tech podcasts (Brian had some great complaints in an Anandtech podcast a while back). simply no matter how you slice it, phone and tablet storage can use a dramatic increase in performance to bring a much better user experience... and even after such improvements it would still be considered slow compared to modern HDD and SSD tech used in modern desktops and laptops.
What I mean by 'Fast' is not a scientific remark based on raw horsepower, it is a subjective opinion based on observation. Let's take my wife's and my computers as an example of this: My computer (while nowhere near the fastest thing available) has a 4GHz i7 CPU, 480GB of SSD space, and an older high-end GPU. My wife's computer is a much more humble i3 system with an older 128GB SSD running basic onboard graphics. While there is a huge difference in scale of the capability of what both systems can do both systems are on the exact same subjective level of how 'fast' they are because they can both boot in under 10 seconds, and open most programs in 1 sec or less.
Today's portable devices have plenty of capability... they are just subjectively 'slow' from a user perspective. The issue is not raw capability, but the perceived speed. It should not take a minute or more to boot a phone, or 5+ sec to open a flashlight app, or upwards of 20-30 sec to open some silly mini-game. Once everything is in RAM it runs smooth as butter, it is just getting it to the RAM that is a problem.
I guess it irks me because this is a solvable problem. I cannot imagine that it would take that much cost or effort to move from the 20MB/s of today's devices to the 80-100MB/s which would give 10 sec boot times and open normal apps instantly. Still a far cry from the 200MB/s of a modern HDD or 500MB/s of a SSD, but these portable devices don't need that kind of raw horse power to be 'fast' like a PC does.
"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer
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