On the subject of heat Rich says that while on paper SSDs usually use less power and generate less heat, the overall power usage and heat consideration will vary from design to design. There are factors that make it hard to predict the max operating temperatures that an SSD can operate in as the smaller the individual parts the more they are affected by heat.
I asked Rich about Seagate’s plans for consumer drives and he says that while there is no set timeline he was sure that consumer versions of the enterprise SSDs would show up in the future and for everyone to keep an eye out for them. When I asked if Seagate would be looking into other flash products [such as USB keys etc] Rich let me know that Seagate has no interest in them whatsoever. It looks like this market is completely saturated with low-margin companies from the Far East and there is not a lot of innovation that Seagate could put in order to differentiate itself from the competition.
The new SSDs will all start off in a 2.5-inch form factor and will continue to use much of Seagate’s own IP as far as drive controllers. This is a very economical way of building a new product, after all Seagate has a large vault of IP to choose from when it comes to drive controllers and the applications are close enough that current technology should fit in nicely. As with most products there will be third-party parts but for the most part Seagate will be making its own controllers for their SSDs. For the Blade guys out there as of right now there is no word on 1.8-inch packaging but as the new SSDs will only have a z-height of about 7mm the packaging options are pretty wide open.
So where does all this SSD goodness leave Seagate’s platters? I asked Rich that and he stated that the SSD was not a replacement for the traditional disk based media. It was a complement. It enters as an extra level of performance offering; an offering that will be the top of the food chain but still a part of that chain. In reality the SSD hits the field as a “best-in-class” product for the mission critical and performance needy enterprise application while traditional discs will always be the best for bulk storage that does not require the same level of performance and speed.
Rich also told me that we can expect to see Seagate’s enterprise class SSDs before the end of this year. I am eagerly awaiting them to see if the wait is worth it. If these new SSDs are like other Seagate products I am sure they will be.
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