Seagate Hybrid Hard Drives Ship and Disappoint
October 8, 2007 1:41 PM
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Seagate Momentus 5400
(Source: Seagate Technology)
Seagate's latest notebook offerings, 3 capacities with hybrid NAND flash technology, does not currently produce promised results
The first Seagate hybrid hard disk drives are now shipping but the reviews will disappoint. Seagate first
announced the Momentus 5400 PSD
line of hybrid 2.5-inch hard disk drives this past June promising a performance boost based on the hybrid design using NAND flash memory for use with the Windows Vista operating system.
The Momentus 5400 PSD line is shipping in capacities of 80 GB, 120 GB, and 160 GB of magnetic storage combined with 256 MB of flash. The manufacturer's specifications state a 44 MB/sec sustained stransfer rate and 8 MB of that oldschool cache. The average seek time is 12.5 ms with an average latency of 5.6 ms. Combined with Microsoft Windows Vista's ReadyDrive technology hybrid hard drives are supposed to improve system performance, hold increased reliability, and reduce power consumption and/or increase laptop battery life.
However, the first impressions of the first hybrid hard disk drives are leaving consumers with those familiar "empty promise" feelings. Is Seagate's product to blame?
Melissa Johnson, a product manager for Seagate, stated that the cause of the
lack of performance improvements
over the original flavor of the Momentus 5400 line was in the BIOS and operating system drivers.
Earlier this year, before any hybrid hard drives were available to the general public, Lenovo bloggers made bold claims that
first generation hybrid hard drives would be a bust
. So far, it seems those claims were true. We can only hope these issues are resolved or the entire idea of a hybrid hard disk drive may become another technology that never could.
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RE: Sorry--this is not MS's fault.
10/9/2007 6:56:54 AM
ReadyBoost/ReadyDrive is proven to work as advertised, given a minimally acceptable configuration. Third parties whether software or hardware have never had the luxury to define their own OS requirements.
If OS XYZ must have 12MB of graphics memory, a manufacturer can't blame the OS because it only chose to put 16MB on its graphics card, leaving a seriously inadequate 4MB left-over for applications when at least 16MB for applications is required for optimum performance (illustrative scenario only).
The hardware vendor needs to configure its product appropriately (i.e. at least 12MB + 16MB graphics memory instead of 16MB, for the scenario above). If Seagate didn't put enough NAND flash on its hybrid drive to make good use of ReadyDrive, how is that Microsoft's fault?
We still have third-party storage controller drivers that cannot make use of certain performance-enhancing features of modern SATA II drives such as NCQ and TCQ. Look at all the problems NVIDIA had getting support for NCQ and TCQ working on its storage controller drivers. Microsoft's fault, again?
Legacy IDE interface is just that - legacy IDE. It does not provide any hardware-specific feature support, which continues to be the domain of third-party drivers. What part of "hybrid" drive do you interpret to mean "legacy"? Vista's legacy IDE support works just fine with these Seagate drives - you get legacy IDE performance and functionality.
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