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Seagate has jumped off the SSD bandwagon and may have put a nail in the SSD coffin for now. It seems that the mega hard drive company does not believe that SSD is even worth the effort. The company cites that building a manufacturing and fabrication unit may not be cost-effective and that Seagate believes that SSD drives as OEM equipment may be a decade or two away. In a surprising report Seagate also says the following:

….the yawning gulf between NAND flash memory production capacity for solid state drives and demand for laptop storage will continue to widen. Whatever portion of megafab production capacity is devoted to NAND flash SSDs, the return on investment would be difficult to justify given the relatively small available market for laptop SSDs.

Which translates to the fact that Seagate doesn’t see a huge market when it comes to laptop computers. The company also believes that there is already a shortage of flash memory to support other devices like cameras, cell phones, tablet computers and other small toys we have.

So we may be looking at hybrid drives. Hard disks with SSD embedded to decrease the time a disk boots the operating system. The standard hard disk could then be used for other programs and to store your files and stuff.

But maybe Seagate knows something we don’t. With cloud computing coming of age, smaller SSD drives can handle the load, again, just holding an OS and nothing more. The company also cites the cost of building a new plant at about $250 Billion U.S. dollars. Yikes! That is indeed costly and may not be an attractive investment for technology investors.

On the flip side of the coin, Western Digital seems to be taking different approach. It is taking a wait and see approach on which way the wind will blow.

Comments welcome.

Source – Hot hardware

Today I receive this comment from Brian Ziel from Seagate with the following information:

Submitted on 2011/01/28 at 10:17am

Ron – Brian from Seagate here.

Here’s the link to the actual document. http://www.seagate.com/docs/pdf/corporate/seagate-view-nand-flash-gen.pdf

Hot Hardware got some of the facts wrong and some are reproduced in your piece. For example, we never said it cost $250B to build one mega fab. It’s about $10B, but given how much NAND that would have to be produced to replace the amount of storage capacity consumed by just the Notebook market today, that would translate to about 25 fabs.

Take a read for yourself. There are other points of view that can be found on the right of this page: http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/about/investor_relations/

Thanks,
Brian