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Seagate downplays SSD in MacBook Air, says hybrid the future

updated 03:40 pm EDT, Fri October 22, 2010

Seagate says MacBook Air not the future yet

Seagate chief Steve Luczo talked down the effect of the new MacBook Air's all-SSD mix this week in a question and answer session following its latest results. He acknowledged that the designs would be "obviously pretty competing" but noted that SSDs were still in the minority at Apple, which he estimated sold just five percent or less of its Macs with flash storage. He also reiterated common problems with SSDs, such as their high prices, low capacities and tendency to bog down over time as they fill up and lose efficiency.

Luczo admitted that he himself had a previous generation MacBook Air and liked it, but also used it as an example of the problems Apple might face. He suggested instead that Seagate's hybrid hard drives and SSDs, like the Momentus XT, would be better since they use the SSD more as a cache than as main storage.

"I spend a lot of time cleaning out files so I can make room for not a lot of content, to be honest with you," he said during the call. "I can [also] tell you that my SSD drive takes about 25, 30 seconds to boot now versus the 12 seconds when I bought it. And that's just an issue more related to OS than it is specifically to the technology, but again, with the hybrid, there are things that you can do to alleviate it so that your boot times are actually as compelling one, two, three and four years down the road."

The statements are somewhat misleading as the issue has mostly been solved on SSDs, albeit not yet officially in Mac OS X. The TRIM command is used in Windows 7 and updated Vista systems to automatically collect "garbage" left from deleting files and prevent the drive from wasting time clearing it out. Hints have existed that TRIM is coming to the Mac and may even be present on the new MacBook Air, but it hasn't been confirmed so far.

Seagate's leader still saw the new Air as being acceptable for those who live in a "net environment" like the cloud but thought that the mainstream or those with a local network cloud would need more space.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Roehlstation

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Western Digital Reported last week they are expecting to see a 10-20% decrease over the next few months just from what the iPad is doing.

  1. cmoney

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Bye bye disk platters

    Can't wait to get rid of you in my portable machines at least. The primary reason I want to go SSD is reliability. Mobile hard drives are just too unreliable and when they go, they generally go fast and without much warning.

  1. Brianziel

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The full answer

    Brian from Seagate here. This is taken a bit out of context. Mr. Luczo also said the MacBook Air would be successful for Apple. For the full question and answer from the conference call, click here:

    thanks, Brian

  1. mullum

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    I'd like to read more about these hybrid drives though, some real world reviews would help me to decide whether they are worthwhile.

  1. chefpastry

    Joined: Dec 1969


    @ mullum

    Just search around for "Momentus XT reviews". They are all over the net.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    For my main desktops, I'd like to have some

    hybrid drive with lots of storage and fast access to data if that's possible. People that now have terabytes of storage certainly aren't going to move to flash memory as expensive as it is. The MacBook Air just happens to fall into a category of being light and thin and is very suitable for flash memory. There will be more notebooks that may follow this change in tech, but I can't see a massive change happening with all those nice high storage hard drives still being built.

  1. MacSpeaker

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Moving parts

    Storage with moving parts has no future..

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