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Seagate CEO compares solid state drives to drives

In the first GigaOM Show, Om Malik and Joyce Kim interview Seagate’s CEO Bill Watkins and among the many topics they discuss they go over the advantages and disadvantages of solid state drives (Starts at about 22:56 mark in video).

Here are some points Bill Watkins makes about solid state drives:

* Flash drive power savings yield about 15 extra minutes on a battery charge. (My impression: I don’t think he considers this much of a gain. It would give back the 15 minutes that Vista supposedly takes away on many systems. Is it that noticeable?)
* A hybrid drive would give about 2 extra minutes
* A solid state drive boots faster and so does a hybrid drive. I think he says there isn’t much difference.
* 32MB solid state drives don’t give enough storage space to be satisfying.
* 64MB solid state drives will appear in volume about 2010 or 2011.
* Don’t have random write performance with flash drives and the write reliability is “very poor.”
* Shock performance on flash drive is very good although returns are about the same for current flash drives and hard drives when used in the field.
* Cost per gigabyte is the key

Seagate doesn’t make a full solid state drive currently although they do have a hybrid drive, so some of his remarks have to be filtered with that context. He also says Seagate is open to make a flash drive, however, it won’t be for notebooks. It’ll be for “enterprise” and devices first. I wonder if he considers a UMPC a “device.”

He also didn’t mention anything about noise and heat. Both are annoying beyond the energy costs.

Another tidbit in the video: Average hard drive sizes in notebooks growing 10-15 GB per quarter. The current average size is about 100GB. The cost for these “average” drives? $40. This goes to show a big challenge flash drives will have in the market? Cost.

[Found via Robert Scoble]

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