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Seagate to start shifting SSDs

Not a Flash in the pan

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The CEO of hard disk drive (HDD) maker Seagate Technology has declared the firm's intention to enter the Flash memory market. Bill Watkins said in an interview with CNET that Seagate will begin shifting solid-state drives (SSD) based on Flash memory chip technology from next year.

It's a marked move away from the world's leading storage vendor's heavy reliance on making and selling magnetic HDDs, the type favoured by the PC, server, and laptop manufacturing industry for many years.

Although Flash data capacity is lower than magnetic HDDs as well as carrying a higher per gigabyte cost overhead some claim the advantages of SSDs include less power consumption and faster data retrieval.

Driven by consumer demand for MP3s, mobile phones, and laptops, SSD prices have begun to fall and vendors have also started to boost capacity, in turn making the market for Flash memory more desirable to the likes of Seagate.

The firm already makes hybrid notebook drives that come loaded with Flash memory which is used to store system files allowing the likes of Windows Vista to boot faster.

Watkins claimed that Flash-based notebooks on the market today are "10 years behind".

He said: "We are going to have a solid state drive, probably for enterprise first. We think we can make these drives better."

But the vertically-integrated firm, which once owned a stake in SanDisk, does not currently manufacture the chips and said it will be looking for a NAND Flash vendor to partner with in order to bring its brand of SSDs to market. ®

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