Feeds

Seagate admits Flash-fitted HDDs fall short of promised benefits

BIOS, driver code to blame, apparently

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Seagate has admitted its first-generation hybrid hard drives - standard hard disks with an added Flash memory cache - are not providing the promised benefits, but it blamed the discrepancy on PC BIOS and device driver software.

Seagate first discussed its Momentus 5400 PSD (Power-Saving Drive) line of 2.5in hybrid hard drives back in June 2006. At the time, it claimed the incorporation of 256MB of Flash would lead to big performance gains and power savings. Windows Vista's ReadyDrive system uses the Flash memory to cache frequently needed data so it doesn't have to spin up and access the magnetic storage so often.

But yesterday, at the start of the week in which the drives officially went on sale, Seagate coughed to the fact the 80, 120 and 160GB drives will not deliver the claimed "order of magnitude" improvement over standard 2.5in, 5400rpm hard drives, ExtremeTech reports.

"[Hybrid hard drive technology] is just not getting the orders of magnitude experiences that Microsoft originally touted," Seagate Product Manager Melissa Johnson told the site.

"There are issues both with the BIOS and devices drivers - they don't know how to utilize the Flash, she accused.

Seagate isn't the only hard drive company touting Flash cache technology. In 2006, Hitachi pledged 2.5in, 5400rpm hybrid drives for release in 2007.

And this past September, Hitachi too admitted hybrid drives weren't up to snuff.

The two company later joined Samsung and Toshiba to found the Hybrid Storage Alliance (HSA), an industry body charged with promoting hybrid drives.

Not much has been heard from the HSA since, possibly because of the issues Seagate's launch has exposed. The drive maker said the driver software was being worked on by Microsoft and HSA members.

"By the second generation, products will see the system benefits," Johnson promised, though she didn't specify when that will happen.

Boost IT visibility and business value

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.