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back to article Mutant heroes to rescue Ultrabooks from price trap

Is Seagate clever or what? In order to get to a $600 entry price, Ultrabook makers are looking to shave off cost by using hybrid flash-disk drives instead of separate flash and disk drives. Because Seagate is the only hybrid drive supplier, with its Momentus XT product, the company is looking extraordinarily well-positioned …

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Anonymous Coward

"Storage is thought to represent 10 to 15 per cent of an Ultrabook's cost."

Wow.

That's almost as much as the Windows Tax costs.

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Re: "Storage is thought to represent 10 to 15 per cent of an Ultrabook's cost."

I don't pay the OSx tax, the itunes tax or the aluminium tax and have a superb notebook for 30% the cost of the ultrabook alternatives.

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Re: Re: "Storage is thought to represent 10 to 15 per cent of an Ultrabook's cost."

Really? Care to advise us what your notebook is?

I'm guessing it's something fairly bog standard.

Just bear in mind you were never the customer an ultrabook was looking for. Whether those customers actually exist at at all is another matter of course....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Storage is thought to represent 10 to 15 per cent of an Ultrabook's cost."

That would be the Windows Tax which makes machines that come with windows less expensive than those which don't?

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Re: Re: Re: "Storage is thought to represent 10 to 15 per cent of an Ultrabook's cost."

Bog standard is awesome these days. 14 years ago I was the sort of person who spent £1000+ on a desktop, but spending £350 today on a laptop doesn't mean I've limited myself in terms of performance and functionality.

If I'm not the customer the ultrabook makers were aiming for, maybe they're looking for people with more money than sense or who don't care about value and performance. Either way, it's not my fault.

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Unhappy

cheaper WITH the Windows Tax?

On hardware that ships without Windows, major manufacturers replace the Windows Tax with an "I don't want to upset Microsoft and lose my discount" tax. (Unless it'd from Job's lot)

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"its Momentus has come"

<Groan>

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Wish they'd make a hybrid desktop drive

I've had one of the hybrid drives in my laptop for about a year. Really excellent speeds for stuff you do on a regular basis. Would love a 3.5 inch version.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wish they'd make a hybrid desktop drive

Why not put the 2.5" version in your desktop? If the speed up you see is due to the flash caching, the platter speed won't make much perceptible difference. And it will be quieter. If seek times are an issue, what about raiding a pair of them?

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Gimp

Re: Re: Wish they'd make a hybrid desktop drive

For my heavy duty workstation, I need more capacity. So a full size 2TB version with 16gb of SSD cache would probably be required. Can't see what is stopping Seagate.

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Hybrid flash makes sense anyway

SSDs are too bloody expensive and don't offer enough storage. HDD are supposedly more power hungry and have high seek times.

Stick a 4GB flash in front of an HDD and it would be the best of both worlds. 4GB would be more than enough to store the entire working set of Windows and the most commonly used apps.

Windows 7 also supports ReadyBoost for caching so an alternative would be to provide a memory card slot in the laptop and prepopulate it with a suitably fast card.

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Re: Hybrid flash makes sense anyway

Err the average memory on a new windows laptop is 3-4gb add in a bit more for stuff in the swap file and that's your cache blown.

Probably the reason seagate went for 8Gb.

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Re: Re: Hybrid flash makes sense anyway

Err right back at you.

Earlier Momentus XTs (like the 500Gb one in this 'ere machine) had 4Gb of flash on 'em, only the latest 750Gb one has 8Gb. The 4Gb ones make a massive difference.....

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good stuff

I'm surprised these aren't more well known to be honest. I've put one in a laptop and another in a desktop, and the performance is great. I've also got a desktop with a dedicated ssd and some magnetic storage, and to be honest, it's only really database performance on the SSD that makes a noticeable difference.

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Pint

I have one in my laptop

I must admit, I was very sceptical to click the buy button; history has taught me to stay away from Seagate as a company. But my netbook needed a boost; do I regret it? Not at all! These drives are awesome, I am a Linux user and definitely feel all that rests below this paragraph is happy living in SSD performance land:

- Operating system

- Development programs

- Browser/media player (music on external drive)

- Web server

Take the plunge today, I live in China at the moment and got the 500GB model for the equivalent of £47. Some people on the web express concerns over power usage; it is true that it takes up an extra ~0.6W compared to the 5400RPM drive I had in before. In all sincerity, it doesn't make much of a difference. People can't believe how snappy my box is, does this comment sound like a plug; I don't care.

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K
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Has one for 6 months...

They're awesome drives.. brought mine just before the floods for about £80, the same drive now costs about £150... ludicrous.

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A hybrid isn't a mutant. Although,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_%28Marvel_Comics%29

Do reflect on what this says about your readership.

Actually, everybody's mutating a ltttle, all the time.

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Anonymous Coward

AMD Ultrathins make more sense

Being several hundred dollars cheaper than the Ultrabook and offering better performance, I see AMD powered Ultrthins to be a better option.

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hybrids any good now?

I remember when the hybrids first appeared bare feats tested them and they found them to be marginally faster than normal HDDs, and WAY slower than SSDs.

Oh yeah they did another test just now, it's here: http://www.barefeats.com/tbolt03.html

Conclusion: "Though slightly faster than a "plain" HDD, the Seagate Momentus XT Solid State Hybrid HDD can't hold a candle to a "pure" SSD."

I think hybrid HDDs are a marketing gimmick at this point. I imagine in order to really work they'd have to have at least 32GB and some clever logic that has knowledge about the operating system and caches only small, frequently used files. But since a HDD doesn't even know about files I imagine this would be really difficult to achieve. And according to the test, they're clearly not doing that.

I paid $250 for pure SSD performance - replaced the DVD in my MacBook Pro with an Intel X-25M SSD 80GB (fastest at the time, new SSDs are way faster). Now I have a SSD for the OS, apps, and my work files, and a 500GB HDD for movies, music, and all other stuff that doesn't need to be fast.

To all the previous posters with hybrids - don't kid yourself, you are far from SSD performance. Most likely what you are seeing is OS level caching which can make HDDs look fast. Example I tested compile time for a huge web based project on my system with HDD, and later with SSD. Tens of thousands of files involved. Well after the first pass, the HDD system was just as fast as the SSD, with the limiting factor CPU speed. OS X disk cache is quite excellent and does its job well.

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