A Skeptic Concedes Solid-State Drives Are the Future

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Solid-state drives, or SSDs, have been catching on ever since Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) decided to put them in its laptops. But now we've reached a tipping point. Classic hard-drive makers are beginning to turn away from the magnetic drives we've used for decades in favor of the newer, stabler, faster solid-state alternatives.

The latest to make the switch: Seagate Technology (NASDAQ: STX  ) , which is on track to stop producing 7,200-rpm laptop drives by the end of the year. Currently, Seagate pitches a brand of "hybrid" drives that add a flash-based cache to reduce stress on the underlying drive platters to hold most data.

While an interesting stopgap, Seagate may be battling a mighty tide with SSD shipments from the likes of Intel (NASDAQ: INTC  ) on track to double this year, according to researcher IHS iSuppli.

Is Seagate fighting a battle it can't win? What's the best way to play the rise of solid-state drives? The Motley Fool's Alison Southwick asks Tim Beyers of Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova for his perspective in the following video. Please watch, and then leave a comment to let us know what you think.

Seagate attracts some investors for its massive and growing dividend yield. Is it sustainable? Or will a worldwide slowdown in demand for magnetic data storage curtail margins and stall growth? The Motley Fool answers this question and more in our most in-depth Seagate research available for smart investors like you. Thousands have already claimed their own premium ticker coverage, and you can gain instant access to your own by clicking here now.

Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (3)

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  • Report this Comment On March 12, 2013, at 10:12 PM, mattdavidian wrote:

    Hard to take Tim seriously when he says around 1:25 that hard drives are "more expensive"--they are not. Certainly not on an absolute basis, and definitely not on a per Gb basis.

    The 7200RPM laptop drives that Seagate is retiring are high performance drives meant for high end laptops. Seagate is going to continue to manufacture the 5400RPM drives for value laptop models, which is what most people are buying. (Research has shown that consumers consider price and capacity first when shopping for laptops.) New hybrid drives (Seagate has already been marketing them for a while) will take the place of the performance line that is going to be retired, by pairing a 5400RPM with the flash memory based cache. This is the important context that is completely left out of this article.

    "Seagate pitches a brand of 'hybrid' drives that add a flash-based cache to reduce stress on the underlying drive platters to hold most data."

    I can't even make sense of this sentence. The hybrid drives delivers the faster performance of a SSD for frequently accessed files by caching this information in flash memory, while offering the capacity and price per Gb of a traditional HDD. Best of both worlds in other words.

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2013, at 2:04 AM, MellowGuy1 wrote:

    I have a flash drive on my laptop and appreciate the extra battery time and cooler operation.

    For a desktop a hard drive with SSD cache is the way to go with perhaps an SSD drive for the operating system and frequently used files.

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2013, at 2:34 PM, jcanfield99 wrote:

    As Matt said, HDD are not more expensive, they're much cheaper than SSDs.

    And they also last longer. It's a well known fact that SSDs have limited write cycles, they degrade overtime until you can only read data back but you can't put new data on the drive.

    Also I wonder what type storage is used for all that cloud data that Tim himself called "a game changer" just 3 weeks ago.

    SSDs are great but don't write off HDDs just yet.

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