Seagate is readying its third generation of hybrid drives, dubbed SSHDs, and the family will for the first time include a desktop version. The hard drive maker started combining mechanical platters with solid-state flash memory back in 2010 with the first Momentus XT notebook drive. That model was refreshed 18 months later with more storage and additional flash memory. Now, Seagate has announced a new family that includes two notebook models in addition to a 3.5" desktop variant.
On the notebook side, two sizes are available. The Laptop SSHD is 9.5 mm thick and offers an even terabyte of storage capacity, while the Laptop Thin SSHD measures 7 mm thick and has only 500GB of storage. Both drives appear to use the same 500GB platters, with the thicker one packing an extra disc.
Neither the press release nor the product brochures Seagate sent us provide details on the spindle speed of those mechanical platters. However, they do reveal that both notebook models feature 8GB of flash memory—the same NAND footprint as the second-gen Momentus XT hybrid. The flash is managed by Seagate's Adaptive Memory tech, which doesn't require additional drivers or software. Adaptive Memory has in the past been restricted to caching data for host reads, and it looks like that limitation still exists in the new generation.
The 8GB NAND cache persists on the Desktop SSHD, which will combine the flash with 1TB or 2TB of mechanical storage. Details on the desktop models are a little scarcer, but we do know they're slightly different sizes. The terabyte unit measures 20 mm thick, while its 2TB sibling is a more typical 26 mm.
According to the press release, Dell, HP, and Lenovo have already signed on to use Seagate's SSHDs. The notebook models are apparently available now, with the desktop units scheduled to hit the market next month. We hope to have more information on the drives for you soon.
Update: We've spoken to Seagate and confirmed that the SSHDs do, in fact, cache some host writes. Additional information on the caching scheme and other drive attributes can be found in this post.
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