Last week at the Intel Developers Forum in San Francisco, CA, Intel and Seagate joined forces to demonstrate Seagate’s latest solid state hybrid drive design, accelerated with Intel® Smart Response Technology.
The goal: Ultrabook solutions for the masses.
“Solid state hybrid drives will help Ultrabook designers achieve key price points and performance goals,” said Emil Yappert, vice president of product line management at Seagate. “SSHD products are being embraced by industry leaders such as Intel as demonstrated by the collaborative efforts with the SATA-IO member companies leading to Seagate’s new hybrid drive capabilities, which can significantly improve SSHD performance and help drive general adoption in the PC ecosystem during 2013 and beyond.”
At the same time, Microsoft showed support for Solid State Hybrid Drive technology in Windows 8, utilizing the flash memory of the drive to achieve best-in-class boot performance, according to Seagate’s press release.
Storage as an enabler?
SSD was a key enabler to Intel’s Ultrabook initiative offering faster speeds, lower power consumption, and obviously, thinner form factors, but it all comes at a price. “When the Ultrabook concept was first introduced with the promise of more than 60 designs in the pipeline, the general average price was $999,” according to this ZD Net article, with hopes of a $699 price point late this year. Acer has a couple designs in the sub $700 US range, but these systems feature a 500GB hard drive, not an SSD, so are they really Ultrabooks?
Solid State Hybrid Drives offer the best of both worlds – performance and price point. Plus consumers do not have to give up capacity. Given the buzz around 7mm and even 5mm designs lately, is good old fashioned disk drive augmented with a bit of flash memory, hence Solid State Hybrid Drive, the missing magic to mass adoption of Ultrabook? Based on the recent moves by Intel and Microsoft, it sure sounds like it.
But Ultrabook adoption is only half the story here. From what it sounds like Seagate has opened the door a bit to Intel and Microsoft, enabling them to innovate around Hybrid technology. Is this just the beginning? What about at the application level? The beauty of Seagate’s SSHD was the Adaptive Memory Technology. Algorithms in the drive managed what data went into flash…it’s invisible to the user. Now, it sounds like Seagate is allowing Intel and Microsoft to determine what goes into the flash. Imagine if the same holds true for other applications, but that’s a post for another time.
Thin design + fast processors + almost instantaneous boot time + high capacity, sounds like a MacBook Air (except for the storage capacity) but for $699.
Would you buy one?