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Seagate takes 7.2k notebook drives out back - and shoots them

Disk-only gear killed, clears way for flashy mutants

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A momentous moment: Seagate will end production of its Momentus 7,200rpm 2.5in disk-only drives.

The storage giant will stop making the gear by the end of this year to focus on drives mixed with flash memory, although it will continue to pump out 5,400rpm disks for cheap laptops.

“We are going stop building our notebook 7,200rpm hard disk drives at the end of 2013,” David Burks, Seagate's director of marketing and product management, told X-bit Labs.

Seagate offers a Momentus 5,400rpm model and three Momentus 7,200rpm drive types:

  • Momentus 5.4k dual-platter: 120GB to 500GB capacity
  • Momentus 7.2k dual-platter: 500GB to 750GB
  • Momentus thin single-platter: 160GB to 500GB
  • Momentus XT second-generation hybrid drive: 500GB to 750GB plus 8GB SLC flash cache

Typical laptop drives spin at 5,400rpm - so 7,200rpm is at the high end of Seagate's notebook disk tech.

WD has its 10k Velociraptor plus its ordinary 5,400rpm Scorpio Blues and the Black hybrid drive with a 24GB NAND cache added to a 500GB or 1TB drive spinning at 7,200rpm. HGST has 5,400rpm and 7,200rpm Travelstars but no flash hybrids.

Toshiba has MK and MQ notebook drives spinning at 5,400rpm and 7,200rpm: the MQ1ABD-H is its first 5,400rpm hybrid drive that can store 750GB or 1TB, and has 8GB of NAND.

The drive suppliers reckon the notebook storage market is trifurcating into fast, fat and, er, something in between.

High-performance and svelte notebooks need solid-state disks. Fat notebooks need relatively big disks of 750GB to 1TB, or more. In-between machines need both attributes: speed and capacity, and one way to do that is with a slug of flash added to a pedestrian 5,400rpm disk drive or a nippier 7,200rpm model.

We expect Seagate to turn the Momentus 5.4k line into a hybrid storing 750GB, 1TB or more, with a fat flash cache of 16GB to 24GB. It could be branded a Momentus 5400 XT. A better bet is that the existing Momentus XT is going to get a third-generation refresh with a fatter flash cache, up from the current 8GB.

Will the pure 5,400rpm disk-only notebook drive product line go the same way as the 7,200rpm one? It most probably will in a year or two. ®

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