SPONSORED EDITORIAL: Seagate's Solid State Hybrid Drive makes no compromise

Conventional hard drive comes equipped with its own integrated solid state memory


For many customers, selecting an internal storage device often means having to make the choice between a solid state drive and a hard drive. This can lead to compromises: if they want speed, they will forego capacity; if they want capacity, they will get it at the expense of speed. What if you could offer your customers a drive that serves up data quickly, has a high capacity, and which also doesn't cost much more than a conventional hard drive?

Seagate's Solid State Hybrid Drive (or SSHD for short) is one such drive: it's a conventional hard that comes equipped with its own integrated solid state memory. The solid state memory SSD is designed to provide the Seagate SSHD with near-SSD performance when it comes to the all-important task of loading data, whether it's the operating system at boot up, or applications such as Adobe Photoshop within the operating system. Not only that, an SSHD can provide the regular high capacities that your customers are used to getting from typical hard drives (up to 4TB for the desktop version).

What does a hybrid drive actually do?

As the name suggests, a hybrid drive is essentially two different types of technologies working together in one package. The hard drive is the main component, where all the customer's data is stored, while the solid state is the component that is used to speed up the access to this data. The solid state acts as a cache that can shorten boot times (under 10sec for Windows 8), and it can reduce the waiting time associated with launching popular applications and loading regularly accessed user data.

There's a 'special sauce' involved in the operation of the drive, and it's in the form of an advanced algorithm that can learn the way a computer is being used. Essentially, the SSHD can react to a user's pattern of usage and tailor it to their needs. This means that regardless of the applications that are being run, users will notice a bump up in speed if they use Seagate's SSHD in favour of a conventional hard drive.

But the best part of all this is that Seagate's SSHDs don't require any special software in order to give a computer a boost in performance, and they don't require any special knowledge in order to be installed. Because they are built using industry standard form factors (2.5-inch and 3.5-inch) and a SATA interface, they simply slot in to a computer just like any other hard drive. This means that your customers can save time and money on large roll-outs, and it also makes maintenance a whole lot easier. Contrast this to other types of hybrid solutions, especially for laptops, in which the hard drive and the SSD are separate, and the practical and economic advantages of the SSHD become clear.

For desktops and laptops

There are two types of Seagate SSHDs available: one is the 2.5-inch form factor for laptops, the other is the 3.5-inch form factor for desktops. The laptop drives are available in two thicknesses, depending on the capacity that your customers need, and also the types of laptops in which they will be used. The Seagate SSHD Laptop drive has a 1TB capacity and it's 9.5mm thick, making it useful for mainstream laptops that can accept this thickness. The Seagate Laptop Thin SSHD has a 7mm thickness and a capacity of 500GB, making it useful for slimmer laptops that require a slightly thinner drive.

Two notebook drives are available: the Seagate SSHD Laptop, and the Seagate SSHD Laptop Thin.
Two notebook drives are available: the Seagate SSHD Laptop, and the Seagate SSHD Laptop Thin.

Both laptop drives feature an 8GB MLC NAND, a 6Gbps SATA connection, and they have all the advanced features Seagate drives are known for, such as Native Command Queuing (NCQ), and a three-year warranty. Both drives are also great candidates not only for laptops, but for media centre PCs, all-in-one PCs, and slim line PCs.

The Seagate SSHD Desktop drive is available up to 4TB.
The Seagate SSHD Desktop drive is available up to 4TB.

Customers looking for desktop drives, are not left in the lurch either, as the Seagate Desktop SSHD is available in a 3.5-inch form factor and three different capacities: 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB. Like the laptop SSHD drives, the desktop variants have an 8GB MLC NAND, as well as a 6Gbps SATA interface, NCQ, AccuTrack technology, and a three-year warranty.

Exploring the benefits of a hybrid drive

The fact that you can now supply your customers with a hard drive that has the characteristics of an SSD when it comes to boot-up, resume, and application launch times, means that any of their computers, be they laptops, all-in-ones or traditional desktops, will be able to take advantage of the extra speed that SSD technology offers, all while still using large capacities.

This is important because SSDs aren't yet available at the same high capacities as hard drives, and an SSD's cost per gigabyte is much higher than a hard drive, especially above the 128GB mark. Furthermore, your customers will benefit from not having to fiddle with multiple drives by installing separate SSD and hard drives in their systems. The single SSHD solution will be more efficient when it comes to energy consumption and heat output in such a scenario, and, of course, it will take up less internal space.

Seagate's SSHDs will work on any platform because they are operating system agnostic. The algorithms in the drive's controller are what make Seagate's SSHDs so responsive, and there is no need for the customer to install or maintain any software for these drives. For the busy office IT manager who wants to give users a better desktop experience, these traits are ideal.

The bottom line

Seagate's SSHD line up of Laptop, Laptop Thin and Desktop models is perfect for any of your early-adopting customers who want to implement storage devices that are faster than traditional hard drives, yet offer the same capacities. They rest in an affordable middle-ground between a conventional hard drive and an expensive SSD, and can be easily deployed and maintained, just like a regular hard drive. For home installations, and small and medium offices, they are an ideal storage upgrade.

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