Seagate CEO Explains Why Flash Won’t Replace Magnetic Hard Drives Anytime Soon

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Ghost XFX

Show me a SSD @ 750GB for less than $200.00 and you have me at hello. Until then, WD has just put out VelociRaptor with 1TB, it will hit $200 before any SSD of the same size will.

Look, nobody denies the performance of SSD. But like all things in life, it boils down to money. And as long as we have this buffoon of a government running things, my wallet is not getting any healthier.

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Scatter

I agree that flash isn't ready to completely replace mechanical HDDs quite yet but I'd still be worried if I were Seagate. My PC currently has a 128gb primary SSD drive and a secondary 1tb mechanical drive. A few years ago it had two mechanical drives but I chose to replace the boot one because of the much faster speed and I think that many other enthusiasts have gone this way as well. Are Seagate and WD prepared to see their sales drop by 33%-50%?

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fry

The SSD price:performance ratio is still ridiculous. It takes my HDD-based PC all of 45 secs to boot Win7. I'm going to pay over 5x the price to speed that up? Uh... no.

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t.y.wan

"SSD’s of course also have to find a way to address the problem of long term reliability as capacities increase."
Right, like it could be a lot worse than Seagate HDDs... Oh wait, their life span isn't that different.

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LatiosXT

I'm surprised nobody's mentioned that flash memory is the only technology that doesn't improve when you shrink it. Well, it improves in data density, but it's P/E cycles goes down and the error rate goes up, making the venture have less value.

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davey062

Working in a computer shop I see how much the typical user stores data on their computers and its not a lot. People see numbers and think they need 2 and 3 Terabytes of space when they don't even use 80GB of space. Once you get a affordable 500GB SSD drive, Seagate will jump on the bandwagon.

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yu119995

The funny thing is - at that point - it'll be too late. The SSD players will have already been established and the platter-loving-price-gouging culprits known as WD and Seagate will be scrambling to play catch up. I guess Luczo is unaware of streaming. The need to store large media files is very much going the way of the dodo bird. I get by very well with just a SSD and 1TB hd (400gb full with about 250 attributed to media) and I'm well on my way to removing all of my media. Google Music, Apple iTunes, Netflix etc. etc.

Be careful WD and Seagate. You could become non-factors in the storage market sooner than you could imagine, especially if you continue to gouge your customes using a tragic event as an excuse.

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someuid

What HDD makers can produce and what customers demand are two different things. Steve's metric is pretty useless when it seems the hot industry is all about portable devices with non-mechanical storage.

Yeah, I know there are several of you with terabytes of data at home. But that could mean anything. Maybe you're really bad at file and folder management and 95% of that is duplicate backups. Or maybe you're a video producer and really do have terabytes of data and couldn't even begin to use an SSD approach for storage.

So, in the end, Steve's comments don't really mean didly. Yeah, I'm sure there will still be a need for lots of storage, but the main focus of that market may shift from consumers and their end devices (and all the slick magazine advertising that comes with it) to corporate sales who are running cloud services (either private or public.) Some of us will set our storage needs and buy the tech needed to meet it, while some of us will pick our tech and make our storage need fit into that mold.

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everettehouse

i am very thankful that i bought five 3tb hdds before the flood and price hikes. i now have more storage than i need inside of a build i did a year ago. i also have a bunch of older hdds from previous desktops and laptops. i feel for anyone who needs to purchase a hdd at these ridiculous prices. as for ssds, i bought a 240 gb mushkin in early march. i couldn't be happier with it. for windows 7 and all other software, it has been an excellent upgrade to what was already a pretty sick build. i am looking forward to upgrading again next year. hopefully, ssds and hdds will have grown larger and faster and cheaper by then.

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TheMiddleman

They won't huh?

They already have, Steve. From tablets to Ultrabooks to the latest mid to enthusiast-grade desktops, SSD's are stealing more and more marketshare away from HDD's. And if your ridiculous artificial price inflations don't settle down soon, you're going to lose even more. Once you experience an SSD OS install, anything else is like watching paint dry. $89 bucks for a 500 gig drive "on sale" is ri-goddamn-diculous. The closer we get to the year anniversary of those flood, the less and less excuses the HDD industry has for those insane prices.

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big_montana

But you still can't touch an SSD drive of any capacity for that price point, let alone a 5ooGB one (if you can find one that size). My work laptop has a 12o GB SSD and I am down I only 20GB free space right now. I would have rather have had the 320GB mechanical HDD drive option over the SSD right now until the price point off SSD'd drop to a more affordable level. Say what you will, but mechanical drives are still way more affordable then SSD's.

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yu119995

For now. SSD's are now down to < $1/gb. How long did that take? I paid $1.75/gb a year ago. The shit's about to hit the fan and WD and Seagate will be the only ones covered in it when it does.

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OccultAssassin

I call BS only the ones on sale might be <$1/gb the majority is >$1/gb

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yu119995

http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=61052&vpn=AGT3-25SAT3-240G&manufacture=OCZ%20Technology&promoid=1259
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=61310&vpn=CSSD-F120GB3-BK&manufacture=Corsair&promoid=1259
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=62972&vpn=MKNSSDCR240GB-DX&manufacture=Mushkin%20Enhanced&promoid=1259
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=61051&vpn=AGT3-25SAT3-120G&manufacture=OCZ%20Technology&promoid=1259
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=64080&vpn=AS510S3-120GM-C&manufacture=AData%20Technology&promoid=1259
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=62873&vpn=MKNSSDCR120GB&manufacture=Mushkin%20Enhanced&promoid=1259

Who fucking cares that they're on sale or MIR'd. Do you get the money back?

BTW, I only hit about 1/3 of them. I could go on and on. Your point is beyond moot.

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aarcane

Part of the problem is that HDDs are an established long term technology, so of course there are vastly more plants producing storage spindles.
Secondly, the SSD form factor is absurdly stupid. Who ever thought it was a good idea to take the smallest establishes form factor, and wrap a puny PCB in several cubic centimeters of air and cover the whole thing in aluminum needs to be shot. If you ever open an SSD, it's plain to see that vastly more storage chips can be packed into even the miniscule 2.5" form factor. The main PCB is about half the depth of the drive chassis, and about 1/3 the height. It's apparent that with minor finagling the drives could easily have 6x the capacity with absolutely no advance in storage technology. Additionally, more storage banks means more native striping and faster access rates. If the drive chassis is expanded to standard 3.5" drives, the capacity could easily scape up past that of 3.5" platter drives.
Finally, the longevity of SSDs is due mainly to poor manufacturing quality. When there's no unexpected failure, the data in the drive remains readable indefinitely.

Once SSD becomes more ubiquitous there will be more plants established. As it becomes more ubiquitous, quality will inevitably improve. While quality improves, and SSD usage expands, some monkey in the lab will realize the whole space thing, and capacities will expand rapidly.

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CPPCrispy

I have a feeling that the unused space within a SSD is for heat dissipation. Can you imagine the amount of heat that it would create if you packed so much in such a small space?

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bautrey

You, have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Before you go about criticizing how SSD's are manufactured and the technology within them, how about you try and understand it first. Try being a Computer Engineer if the current SSD's displease you. Go and try to make one for yourself!!!

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yu119995

Congratulations. The "Dumbest Post of the Year" goes to you. Here's your prize. It's a 500gb hd for $90.

EDIT: That should be in reply to aarcane not bautrey.

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ShyLinuxGuy

I agree with Seagate's CEO, though I think he's saying that traditional HDDs will not be replaced with SSDs for possibly several years to not scare off the shareholders. SSDs, even with the floods that caused HDD shortages (and high prices as a result), still are quite expensive for the price per GB versus a HDD. Though I may ditch my RAID and have a SSD for my OS (Windows + Ubuntu) and a traditional HDD for files, which seems to be the popular thing to do among other power users.

As far as HDDs are concerned, they *should* be coming down in price now that the plants in Thailand are getting up and running. Whether they *do* is a different story...

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aarcane

Read up on your MaxPC. Drive manufacturers as much as announced their decision to price-fix at post-flood prices.

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aarcane

DP. Please Delete.

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therestorestore

SSD is great for many things, not space.

Traditional hard drives are all about space, but what about REDUNDANCY?

If a guy really has 3 TB of data, how do you back it up? Grandma has a gig of pictures. A flash drive from wal-mart and she's fixed up. 3 TB?

RAID is fine at the drive level, if a PSU dies badly the whole array is potentially at risk.

A lightning strike can chunk an external drive AND an array.

A tornado or fire can take out the dupe you have safely on the shelf.

A home user cycling off-site backups? umm.... no. A Business will but not a home user.

What do you people do?

I'm not going to put 3 TB of my data on ONE drive and leave it at that. Not at this point. I've been paid to implement backup schemes for my customers, and I've dealt with too many failed drives.

Once you're slinging TB around optical is not an option, it's like a floppy disk nowdays by comparison, blue-ray is like the 100meg zip disk was.

Cloud is fine for things like documents and even critical pictures to an extent, but a 50 GIG box.net account takes days/weeks to fill up and you're only at 5% of 1 terabyte.

At this point I'm *thinking* about a home server with a SSD boot drive and two external multi-terabyte USB3 drives, write to one and have scripting sync to the other. SHTF grab one and run. If you can't, you have bigger problems.

All the servers I support have raid, personally I don't like it in a non-enterprise setting. :shrug:

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aarcane

You bring up an excellent point. ANy home user should be using ubuntu server with zfsonlinux, and amanda to perform offsite backups of critical filesystems to amazon's S3.

The ubuntu+zfs+amanda+S3 recipe is the idyllic solution for massive storage in the home, and nearly ready for enterprise, too.

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bautrey

I currently have 2.3TB on a RAID5 in my computer. After reading this, I really should get a proper backup for all my data...

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pastorbob

I agree with Steve Luczo. Though I added a 120 Gig SDD in my latest build to be my boot drive, I still have need for massive amounts of storage. And given my experiences with the snail pace of using the cloud to store files off site I prefer that storage to be local and immediately accessible. Experience has also taught me that the only backups I can count on are the ones I have done locally and can access as needed. The $160 I paid for a 120 Gbyte SSD will buy about 3 Tbytes of mechanical hard drive space. And that my friends will hold a lot of video and document files. Not to mention the 20 Gig audio library I currently own.

SSD's are great for performance boosts but for archival purposes mechanical drive cost per gig cannot be beat.

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compguytracy

I agree i am getting a 240 gb ssd 6gbps but also upgraded to a 3tb storage drive. I cant wait i built a machine with a ssd and i am a beliver

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Engelsstaub

The "ideal" setup IMO is to have an SSD for your primary computer (especially if you roll with a laptop most of the time) and use HDDs and possibly BD-Rs for backup strategies.

Ironically enough I'm still rocking the mechanical HDD in my primary computer. I thought hard about upgrading to a SSD this year but ended up putting that money (and then some) into upgrades to my audio equipment. Hopefully next year, though.

I agree with Baer down there; there's definitely a place for both.

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yu119995

Oh man. I can't even begin to tell you the difference in performance and I'm only rocking a second gen OCZ Vertex on a SATA2 connection. I've built rigs for friends with Agility 3's and Corsair Force GT's and they're absolutely blazing. Do yourself a favour; make that your next purchase. You'll wonder how you ever got along without them (lol). :)

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whathuhitwasntme

I think you will find an over looked area would be
optical discs

currently blu ray holds what? 25 gb on a dvd disc
speed up the front end with some ssd tech to get the buffer rates down and now you have a different hybrid again dont ya?

as soon as you KNOW what is coming, you are wrong
the next new thing will not be what you think
and the revolution will NOT be televised

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Peanut Fox

That's pretty much what hybrid drives are for. You've got an SSD piggybacking on a standard HDD. They're not very popular, but I think that has more to do with them not being fully fleshed out.

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Baer

I agree with John P. While I love my SSD for boot and for key applications, and while I would NEVER go back to a mechanical drive for those areas of storage I can not see any need to go with multi Tb of storage on SSD. There is a need and a place for both, at least based on todays reality.

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Peanut Fox

I didn't buy any HDDs for my z77 build, but picked up 512GB in SSD storage. HDD prices have only gone up, SSD prices have been coming down. I say give it some time and we'll see what the playing field looks like in a few years.

Go ahead and rest on your laurels. You'll have only yourself to blame if you get caught off guard.

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JohnP

Storing the 5 terabytes that is on this machine on the web or on SSD? Absurd.
There will be other disruptive technologies out there, but, like oil, they will not be considered as long as the price per MB of hard drives so low. The manufacturers are not doing themselves any favors by keeping the price higher.

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thetechchild

The difference being that oil seems to be rising in price, and the general consensus is that it will be more and more difficult to increase output. Simultaneously, energy alternatives become more and more viable as governments invest in research and subsidies. Since oil is simply nonrenewable, it is easy to see that it must be replaced as it runs out.

Mechanical drives are still growing, in terms of price per GB, as well as capacity per drive, and perhaps slightly in performance. SSD pricing is also becoming easier to swallow, but it hasn't come close to really competing. Unlike oil, mechanical drives will likely continue to improve over time, and is still years or decades away from the peak. However, mechanical drives too will eventually yield, as eventually SSDs or some other innovation in storage become more price effective and equally reliable.

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Peanut Fox

It's gonna be HDDs with lasers.

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germanogre

you forgot "frickin'". Frickin' Lasers

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livebriand

The next time I build a PC, I can definitely say that, in cases where little storage is needed, I'll consider an SSD before a hard drive. Previously, I would've said the opposite (but with high prices, not anymore...).

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