Seagate recently announced that it will phase out 7200rpm laptop drives by the end of the year and now we know what it will use to replace them. The company announced its third generation solid state hybrid drives, or SSHDs, and for the first time it is bringing NAND cache to desktop drives as well.
Seagate’s venerable 7200rpm laptop drives will be replaced by two new SSHDs, in 500GB and 1TB capacities. Both feature 8GB of NAND, double the 4GB used in first and second generation Seagate Momentus XT hybrid drives. They are 7mm thick and Seagate claims the new drives are up to 40 percent faster than its previous SSHD generations. Better yet, they are up to five times as fast as 5400rpm mechanical drives.
Seagate’s vice president of marketing Scott Horn likened the new drives to adding a turbo charger to a PC and he added that the drives will come cheap, much cheaper than proper SSDs. The 500GB is priced at $79, while the 1TB variant costs $99.
However, Seagate’s decision to bring SSDH technology to mid-range desktop drives is perhaps the most interesting part of the announcement. Seagate will sell 1TB and 2TB desktop hybrid drives for $99 and $149 respectively. Although the prices sound a tad too high, 3.5-inch hybrids should have no trouble attracting plenty of takers.
They will allow OEMs to come stick them into very cheap desktops, greatly improving performance and reducing the storage bottleneck which plagues most PCs. The speed of solid state drives increases with each new generation, which is not the case with HDDs. However, SSDs are still too expensive to be used in most desktops. Decent hybrid drives with a reasonable price tag can bring the best of both worlds to boring entry level desktops and they can easily become a big selling point for vendors.