Monday, October 24th 2016

Seagate Introduces the 5th Gen FireCuda SSHDs - Up to 2 TB, 8Gb NAND

Seagate has officially updated their FireCuda line, the solid-state supported, high-capacity hybrid drives. The new, 5th Gen models sport a thinner form-factor (2.5"), rocking the company's multi-tier cache technology as well as 1 TB SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) plates. The SMR plate's difference compared to conventional, perpendicular recording HDD technology allows these hybrid drives to increase storage density by up to 25%, by allowing newly-written magnetic tracks to partly overlap previously-written ones, reducing the amount of platter real-estate occupied.

The caveat with this technology is that the overlapping-tracks architecture may slow down the writing process, since writing to one track overwrites adjacent tracks, and requires them to be rewritten as well. However, according to Seagate, the large, multi-tier cache technology and large NAND caches are enough to offset any performance loss incurred by the SMR technology employed on these drives, and then some.
The new FireCuda line will offer storage in 500 Gb, 1 TB and 2 TB capacities, bringing compatibility with a wider range of devices thanks to their reduced z-height of 7mm. These feature 5400 RPM spindle speed, coming in with 128 MB of DRAM cache buffer. The maximum transfer rate and average latency for the FireCuda 2.5" are rated at 140 MB/s and 5.6 ms respectively, with all capacities shipping with the same amount of DRAM cache memory and 8 GB of MLC NAND cache, which works by swapping frequently used data to the faster NAND memory. The drives leverage the SATA 6 Gb/s protocol, with power consumption rated at 0.45 W idle, 1.6/1.7 W read/write power for the 500 GB and 1 TB drives, and 0.5 W idle, 1.7/1.8 W read/write power for their 2 TB sibling.

While shipping of the drives is already underway, official prices or market availability dates still haven't been disclosed. However, the 2 TB model is reportedly going to cost around $100. The five-year warranty that Seagate offers on their FireCuda line of hybrid drives are sure to bring more value to the table, being longer than the standard 2-year on Seagate's family of Barracuda consumer HDDs.
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26 Comments on Seagate Introduces the 5th Gen FireCuda SSHDs - Up to 2 TB, 8Gb NAND

#1
hojnikb
they could atleast used 16 or 32GB of nand cache... nand is cheap as it is already.
Posted on Reply
#2
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
hojnikb
they could atleast used 16 or 32GB of nand cache... nand is cheap as it is already.
Why? The ssd part of the drive is only used for caching. Not as an actual partition where you can dump your files

Putting more or higher capacity chips on it would just inflate the price. And i doubt you'd need to cache 16gigs of data for quick access.

Use an actual ssd or ramdisk
Posted on Reply
#3
cryohellinc
How will it determine a "frequently used data"?

I understand that for example movies will be stored on an HDD part of this hybrid drive, however say you start up a movie or a game, drive will move it to the 8gb ssd bit? or how does it work? Also if for example movie is blue-ray which will instantly exceed the, then we see a slowdown?

Thank you for clarifying.
Posted on Reply
#4
zo0lykas
youtube, how works SSHD

cryohellinc
How will it determine a "frequently used data"?

I understand that for example movies will be stored on an HDD part of this hybrid drive, however say you start up a movie or a game, drive will move it to the 8gb ssd bit? or how does it work? Also if for example movie is blue-ray which will instantly exceed the, then we see a slowdown?

Thank you for clarifying.
Posted on Reply
#5
hojnikb
FreedomEclipse
Why? The ssd part of the drive is only used for caching. Not as an actual partition where you can dump your files

Putting more or higher capacity chips on it would just inflate the price. And i doubt you'd need to cache 16gigs of data for quick access.

Use an actual ssd or ramdisk
More nand means faster speeds (as nand speed scales with capacity) and also higher hitrate for the cache part, if it's larger.
So yeah, there are defenetly benefits to be had using more nand. And nand is cheap as it is and anything less than 16GB is harvastaed dies anyway (they don't make flash dies smaller than 128Gbit)
Posted on Reply
#6
cryohellinc
zo0lykas
youtube, how works SSHD
Well dont you think i have done that already? All of them explain how the technology works, after one-two usages of a given file or software it will in future run them through flash memory, that is clear. However my question is still there, what if the file size exceeds the flash memory capacity? What do we get then, a major slowdown, or it wont exceed?

That bit is still unclear to me.
Posted on Reply
#7
hojnikb
cryohellinc
Well dont you think i have done that already? All of them explain how the technology works, after one-two usages of a given file or software it will in future run them through flash memory, that is clear. However my question is still there, what if the file size exceeds the flash memory capacity? What do we get then, a major slowdown, or it wont exceed?

That bit is still unclear to me.
It works on a block leve, not file. If it sees certain block accessed more than a few times, it copies them to the flash portion.
Posted on Reply
#8
bug
hojnikb
they could atleast used 16 or 32GB of nand cache... nand is cheap as it is already.
I'm going to give Seagate some credit for now and assume they've done their homework in determining the SSD cache size. But I am eagerly waiting for reviews.
Posted on Reply
#9
hojnikb
In all honesty, 8GB of flash is so cheap, that they could incorporate it on all their drives from 1TB and up. Instead they sell it as a premium, which makes little sense.
Posted on Reply
#10
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
hojnikb
More nand means faster speeds (as nand speed scales with capacity) and also higher hitrate for the cache part, if it's larger.
So yeah, there are defenetly benefits to be had using more nand. And nand is cheap as it is and anything less than 16GB is harvastaed dies anyway (they don't make flash dies smaller than 128Gbit)
Well how lightning fast does lightning fast need to be? the SSD part of the hard drive isnt mechanical as you already know, There are no spin up times or seek times while it searches for your files. I dont think you'd be able to tell if speeds went from 0.1seconds to 0.0seconds.

Higher hit rate for cache? Do you regularly use the A(to)Z of apps in existence to great depth on a daily basis? Because if thats the case, then maybe you need to look at an actual SSD and not a hybrid drive. For most of us, all we really want are fast boot times & a few of the regular apps we use like web browsers, word, excel -- productivity apps, media/3D content creating/editing tools, Maybe the odd game or two here or there depending on the size and its all gravy.

Get an 250GB SSD & 1TB Mechanical -- the SSD doesnt even need to be explosively fast or the top model. I can pick up a 240GB AMD Radeon SSD for £52 and a 1TB hard drive for £45. the SSD will be fine for windows and all my regular apps and maybe a few games depending on the size but it will smoke any hybrid drive any day.


I dont think you quite understand the use of a hybrid drive
Posted on Reply
#11
cryohellinc
hojnikb
It works on a block leve, not file. If it sees certain block accessed more than a few times, it copies them to the flash portion.
Aha! :D Thank you buddy, makes perfect sense now. Clearly will grab one for my games. in future.
Posted on Reply
#12
slozomby
8gb is pathetically small. sure if you only use one or 2 apps it'll speed up their launch slightly. but overall performance isn't significantly better than a pure spinning drive. at least not for a 20% price increase over a barracuda ( based on 3tb drive prices). if it were something other than a gimmick you'd see them offering it on enterprise drives as well.

the only place I see that they have any legitimate use is in laptops that need a lot of storage but only have 1 drive bay.
Posted on Reply
#13
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
slozomby
8gb is pathetically small. sure if you only use one or 2 apps it'll speed up their launch slightly.
If you check out hybrid drives made by other manufacturers you will see that most of them have 8GB cache so it seems its a general consensus that 8GB is fine.


slozomby
if it were something other than a gimmick you'd see them offering it on enterprise drives as well.
Nope, Not a gimmick if theres actual real world difference, and there is. On top of that an 8GB SSD cache on a enterprise drive is absolutely pointless - youre better off using a PCIe SSD for caching or a regular 2.5" SSD. These will never be sold as or marketed as enterprise drives. the reliability just isnt there and we know how seagate is when it comes to reliability.

slozomby
the only place I see that they have any legitimate use is in laptops that need a lot of storage but only have 1 drive bay. and even then its questionable since all the 2.5" hybrids are rather small.
There are plenty of storage options on the market for laptops today. Many laptops have msata slots which you can install an msata SSD for storage or caching if the bios allows. You can still keep your mechanical drive. Given the choices, I would much rather fit an SSD in my laptop then a hybrid and keep an external USB drive for storing some data on to save space. Most laptops have card readers and 64GBs can be had for fairly decent price these days. Probably not the best place to install apps to but for storage of less important files it might be useful.

Not to mention the optical drive on your laptop can be converted to take an SSD -- there are loads of these bays available on amazon.
Posted on Reply
#14
hojnikb
FreedomEclipse
Well how lightning fast does lightning fast need to be? the SSD part of the hard drive isnt mechanical as you already know, There are no spin up times or seek times while it searches for your files. I dont think you'd be able to tell if speeds went from 0.1seconds to 0.0seconds.

Higher hit rate for cache? Do you regularly use the A(to)Z of apps in existence to great depth on a daily basis? Because if thats the case, then maybe you need to look at an actual SSD and not a hybrid drive. For most of us, all we really want are fast boot times & a few of the regular apps we use like web browsers, word, excel -- productivity apps, media/3D content creating/editing tools, Maybe the odd game or two here or there depending on the size and its all gravy.

Get an 250GB SSD & 1TB Mechanical -- the SSD doesnt even need to be explosively fast or the top model. I can pick up a 240GB AMD Radeon SSD for £52 and a 1TB hard drive for £45. the SSD will be fine for windows and all my regular apps and maybe a few games depending on the size but it will smoke any hybrid drive any day.


I dont think you quite understand the use of a hybrid drive
Already have SSD and plan on going full ssd in the future (can't bear the sound of HDDs to be honest).

Still i had the opportunity to test both (specifically sammy 840 pro and a toshiba 1tb sshd with 8gb of flash). Toshiba drive even after a while to give it some time do do learning didn't fell all that snappier than your regular 2.5" 5400rpm drive. Maybe a little improvement, but not much. After switching to 840pro (got a very good price on it) it was a night and days experience.

So yeah, current hybrid drives make little sense, because onboard flash isn't fast enough and big enough to justify the extra premium (looking at the current pricing, 1TB 2.5" hybrid drive costs almost 28€ more).
For that kind of money, you can grab a cheap 60gb ssd, that will be miles faster than sshd setup.
Posted on Reply
#15
slozomby
FreedomEclipse
Nope, Not a gimmick if theres actual real world difference, and there is. On top of that an 8GB SSD cache on a enterprise drive is absolutely pointless - youre better off using a PCIe SSD for caching or a regular 2.5" SSD. These will never be sold as or marketed as enterprise drives. the reliability just isnt there and we know how seagate is when it comes to reliability.

.
http://www.seagate.com/tech-insights/value-of-enterprise-sshd-basics-part1-master-ti/

yet they pulled it.

there are plenty of low end servers that run enterprise sata drives that don't have ssds. most servers out there don't have the option for ssd caching on the raid controller. lets take dell as an example. the perc 730 raid controller allows ssd caching. the perc 710 doesn't unless you flash avago's bios onto it voiding your warranty on the card. perc 710 was in use until last year.

FreedomEclipse
Many laptops have msata slots which you can install an msata SSD for storage or caching if the bios allows. You can still keep your mechanical drive. Given the choices, I would much rather fit an SSD in my laptop then a hybrid and keep an external USB drive for storing some data on to save space.
most laptops don't have m2 slots. a lot of the new ones do. thankfully my thinkpad has an easy swap between optical and 2nd hard drive bay and spare battery. I've had plenty of laptops that don't. as for external drives I've had too many fail to consider them reliable storage for everyday use.

I'm confused about which side you're on. you seem to think hybrid drives have a use. but you're own points argue against it.
Posted on Reply
#16
bug
Let's look at this another way: do we want an Apple world, where we get 3-4 system configurations a year at best or do we welcome an additional option?
Posted on Reply
#17
slozomby
bug
Let's look at this another way: do we want an Apple world, where we get 3-4 system configurations a year at best or do we welcome an additional option?
I'm all for options that make sense. I just don't see any point in the desktop versions of these drives. if they can fit 512GB into a micro sd card they can put more than 8gb into these drives.
Posted on Reply
#18
natr0n
The nand will outlive the drive.

How does seagate stay in business pushing out copious amounts of shit I have no idea.
Posted on Reply
#19
alucasa
If anyone remembers, the first SSHD they came out with some years ago had 4GB SSD cache. A year later, they released 8GB SSD cache.

Now, they have 16GB cache.

I personally have the 4GB version. It works fine as a boot drive. The booting time is almost the same as a pure SSD.
Posted on Reply
#20
bug
slozomby
I'm all for options that make sense. I just don't see any point in the desktop versions of these drives. if they can fit 512GB into a micro sd card they can put more than 8gb into these drives.
Well, until we see benchmarks, you can only assume these don't make sense, right? I honestly don't know, I haven't read any review for a SSHD drive in quite a while.
Posted on Reply
#21
Steevo
All that sounds great until a power outage, lighting strike, or other interrupting event causes the rewrite/write to fail. Plus smaller isn't better if it's slower.
Posted on Reply
#22
bug
Steevo
All that sounds great until a power outage, lighting strike, or other interrupting event causes the rewrite/write to fail. Plus smaller isn't better if it's slower.
You can't have it all for $100 ;)
Posted on Reply
#23
thebluebumblebee
Okay, I'm thoroughly confused. I noticed that Seagate had brought out a new lines of HDD's/SSHD's back in July, to absolutely no fanfare. This announcement seems to only apply to the 2.5" drives, even though a 3.5" drive is also pictured. Did they wait until the 2.5" drives were ready to announce the entire line? It is nice to see a 5 year warranty on these drives, and that alone might be worth the increased cost. I had one of the ST2000DM001's die 44 days after it's 2 year warranty expired. That drive is being replaced by the ST2000DM006.
Posted on Reply
#24
RejZoR
FreedomEclipse
Why? The ssd part of the drive is only used for caching. Not as an actual partition where you can dump your files

Putting more or higher capacity chips on it would just inflate the price. And i doubt you'd need to cache 16gigs of data for quick access.

Use an actual ssd or ramdisk
I've had a software array SSHD and 8GB is NOT enough by far. 16GB would do it, but with the size of today's games, 32GB is kind of a must. And for god sake, 32GB SSD costs like 15-20 bucks tops. They use crap HDD drives, it's not like they are sticking SSD part to a fastest HDD in their lineup. I mean, the fact cache is still 8GB since the inception of SSHD's is telling. It's just not enough.
Posted on Reply
#25
TheLaughingMan
I agree. Who is this for? If you need storage, this drive shoots itself in the foot by having crap write speeds that they are clearing avoiding show here because they know its crap. It still has mediocre performance at 140 MB/s average.

If you need speed, SSD. If you need storage, get a 4 TB without this overlapping memory thing. And if you are somehow in a position that a hybrid drive is your best option, they already have drives on the market with better performance and similar storage capacity.
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