Earlier today X-bit Labs reported that Seagate will stop the production of their 7200RPM 2.5" drives by the end of this year and I just got a confirmation from Seagate that this is really the case. Seagate currently offers four 7200RPM 2.5" lineups: Momentus 7200.4, 7200.2, Momentus Thin 7200, and Momentus XT. The latter is Seagate's hybrid drive, which couples the spinning platters with 8GB of SLC NAND for caching purposes.

The move makes sense when looking at the market's state. 7200RPM mobile hard drives have always been a premium product and are mostly found in high-end laptops or built-to-order configurations. Due to the decline in SSD prices over the last few years, the market for faster hard drives has quickly faded away because users seeking for performance have opted for SSDs instead of 7200RPM hard drives. While 7200RPM 2.5" hard drives are still significantly cheaper per GB than SSDs, even a small (32-128GB) SSD will provide better overall performance when used as an OS and applications drive, and high-end laptops can often be configured with dual-drives to overcome the capacity issue (especially with mSATA around or by removing the optical drive).

As an intermediate solution, quite a few laptop OEMs also offer at least some sort of flash based storage in their higher-end products nowadays, usually in the form of a small mSATA caching SSD. 5400RPM hard drives are fast enough when the most frequently stored data is stored in an SSD and draw less power so they are more optimal as secondary storage.  

Seagate won't depart the performance hard drive market as they will focus on hybrid drives (SSHDs). Ultimately I believe this is a better choice because we still haven't really seen a great hybrid drive and the market for hybrid drives is definitely bigger and more future-proof than 7200RPM hard drives. While the first and second generation Momentus XTs have been a good start, 4-8GB of NAND isn't enough to provide the real SSD experience. There is hope that with the discontinuation of 7200RPM mobile hard drives, Seagate will put more effort into the Momentus XT. Personally I would like to see multiple SKUs with varying amounts of NAND to cater to the mainstream market as well as the high-end market where users are expecting more SSD-like performance.

Seagate doesn't have a consumer SSD lineup, so the Momentus XT is a crucial product for Seagate in order to stay in the high-end, higher-profit consumer storage market. The question is whether they will be able to make a hybrid drive a more attractive option than a caching mSATA/M.2 SSD with a conventional hard drive. Given the current pricing and the upgrade path offered by mSATA/M.2, plus the fact that 20-32GB caching SSDs with Intel's Smart Response Technology clearly outperform the current Momentus XT offerings, Seagate has their work cut out for them. In another five years, short of a new explosion in storage intensive files, we will likely reach the point where everything becomes pure SSD because the cost and performance will be better than any conventional or hybrid solutions.

Source: X-bit Labs



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  • SlyNine - Sunday, March 3, 2013 - link

    lol does she take your balls to the board and give them back to you when you come home? Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, March 3, 2013 - link

    Overbearing sheballs driving shaftless fan, nookie maybe - rofl Reply
  • B3an - Saturday, March 2, 2013 - link

    How about reading the article next time.

    Seagate will be making hybrid drives instead, like the Momentus XT. These are faster than 7200RPM HDD's which are still very slow compared to SSD's. So a hybrid will perfectly fill the gap between 5400RPM HDD's and SSD's.
  • Alexvrb - Sunday, March 3, 2013 - link

    Except that Momentus XT *is* a 7200RPM drive and that's a big part of why it's faster than the 5400RPM drives it typically replaces. I know, I've owned one. The cache was great, but it wasn't enough by itself. Reply
  • Kilnk - Saturday, February 8, 2014 - link

    Yeah and please, tell me what happens with that data that's not on the 8GB (lol) SSD part of the hybrid drive? Can't even put a few games on there without most of them being on the slow part of the hard drive. Reply
  • dananski - Sunday, March 3, 2013 - link

    I think my 5400rpm cheapo laptop drive is fine. I was pulling >50MB/sec off it yesterday, and I'm only using it as a data drive anyway, so the OS is nice and nippy on the SSD. I might try to get a faster HDD when I run out of space and need to upgrade it, but I wouldn't pay much extra for it. I think Seagate are justified in abandoning 7200rpm in 2.5 inch drives. Reply
  • andrewaggb - Monday, March 4, 2013 - link

    5400rpm laptop drives are painfully slow. If you can afford a quality ssd, it's so much faster...

    I replaced the 5400 rpm drive in my laptop with an ssd after a couple days because I couldn't stand it. Launch times, everything where painful. i7, dedicated graphics, 8gb ram, and it ran like garbage. It's almost 3 years old now, but still a decent laptop.

    My wife used to complain about her laptop (i7 quad core, dedicated graphics, etc...) being slow and taking forever to start programs and boot up. She would barely use it. I replaced the 5400 rpm drive with an ssd and windows 8, it's about 10 seconds from power button to start screen, apps launch fast, and she uses it all the time now.

    Get a 160gb+ ssd though. 128gb is not quite big enough in my experience.
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  • phillyry - Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - link

    ^^^^^Post by ilihijan above is SPAM ^^^^^ Reply
  • WaltFrench - Saturday, March 16, 2013 - link

    As the article says, many laptops — e.g., my 2010 MBP — can be retrofitted with a pair of disks; the suggested System+Applications folders fit easily into my 160GB Flash drive, and user data is accessed just fine from my 1TB 5400 spinner.

    Most user data is read in and written out essentially sequentially (especially with system-provided defrag), so access times are pretty fine, not that disk access speed is a huge issue with my zillions of MP3s, JPEGs and MP4s, or my Office files.

    This works much faster than the 7200 rpm drive it replaced, has more capacity, and only required me to put the seldom-used optical drive in a separate case that stays home. Win-win-win.

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