This Tuesday, December 6, Seagate’s hosting a webcast about Solid State Hybrid Drives (SSHD), called “Maximizing Performance and Reliability: Fusing the Advantages of SSD and HDD.” DailyTech’s senior editor Jansen Ng will talk about flash trends, “Instant-On,” and changes in the computing lifestyle, along with Seagate’s Jeff Burke and John Moon. (Bonus: one lucky attendee will win a high-performance laptop loaded with Seagate’s brand new Momentus XT SSHD.)
Jansen has a wealth of knowledge and has covered the storage industry for the past ten years, and the NAND and SSD markets for the past five. So we spent a few minutes with Jansen to ask him about his latest take on the technology.
Seagate: Solid State Hybrid Drives like Momentus XT promise performance near that of SSDs but with the capacity of an HDD, all at an affordable price. Were you skeptical about SSHD being able to deliver those benefits when Seagate first announced the Momentus XT?
Jansen: Seagate has been involved in SSHD technology for a long time, and has been able to make substantial improvements with each generation. The Momentus PSD released in October 2007 was disappointing, but the first generation Momentus XT released last year was a remarkable turnaround, offering much better performance than other proposed caching solutions.
The latest generation Momentus XT has definitely closed the gap with SSDs, building on the strengths of traditional low-cost storage while mitigating most of its weaknesses.
Seagate: What advances impress you the most in this technology?
Jansen: The advances in the NAND flash controller and firmware made by Seagate are very impressive. This is an area that has posed significant challenges for SSD manufacturers, and Seagate has put a lot of engineering resources to ensure that doesn’t happen. Anybody can slap some NAND onto a hard drive and call it a hybrid, but it is the controller and firmware that is the secret sauce.
Seagate: What applications get the most benefit with SSHDs?
Jansen: Boot times are the metric that most consumers use to judge performance. SSHDs provide a significant and quantitative improvement in that regard. The firmware and caching scheme used by the 750GB Momentus XT will significantly speed up a user’s most commonly used applications.
Seagate: What do you see for the future of SSHDs?
Jansen: There are still significant improvements that can be made, but eventually SSHDs will enter the mainstream through OEM adoption, in the same way that 7200RPM HDDs are the standard. HDDs are the bottleneck in most systems; most components have access speeds of a few nanoseconds, while HDDs are still measured by milliseconds. SSHDs have the potential to transform the entire PC industry by significantly improving the user experience at an affordable cost.
Interested in more? The webcast is December 6, 2011 at 11 a.m. PST / 2:00 p.m. EST. (And remember to sign up to try to win the SSHD-powered high-performance laptop.)