Apple Fusion Drive or Seagate SSHD? Is there a difference?


Seagate has been touting Hybrid technology for a few years now. Since the launch of Momentus XT back in May of 2010, Seagate is quickly approaching 2,000,000 solid state hybrid drives (SSHD) sold. SSHDs offer capacities of a hard disk drive, with speeds similar to an SSD, at a price that’s slightly more than a traditional hard drive.

Apple has officially endorsed solid state hybrid technology with the announcement of their Fusion Drive.  Apple’s website so eloquently refers to their hybrid technology as, “…Fusion Drive is a breakthrough concept that combines the high storage capacity of a traditional hard drive with the high performance of flash storage. With Fusion Drive in your iMac, disk-intensive tasks — from booting up to launching apps to importing photos — are faster and more efficient. That’s because frequently used items are kept at the ready on speedy flash storage, while infrequently accessed items go to the hard drive. The file transfers take place in the background, so you won’t even notice. As the system learns how you work, Fusion Drive makes your Mac experience even better. And you don’t have to do a thing.”

(sounds familiar)

Seagate’s new and improved Momentus XT page touts solid state hybrid as, “The ultimate solution to meeting improved storage performance and capacity needs within the budget constraints of IT organizations is a blend of solid state drive (SSD) and hard disk drive (HDD) technology. Solid state hybrid drives (SSHD) effectively merge these technologies, providing storage devices that are compatible with traditional HDD modules, while delivering one of the most compelling value propositions the storage market has seen in years: SSD–like performance and hard drive capacity.”

Whatever technology you deploy, separate SSD and HDD components like Apple’s Fusion Drive, or SSD integrated on to the HDD as a single device like Seagate’s, one thing is for certain, solid state hybrid will become mainstream for consumer and commercial laptops and desktops over the next year. Seagate has already announced plans for a desktop 3.5-inch SSHD, and no doubt an enterprise version is also in the works.

For Seagate, it’s obvious solid state hybrid drives are a big deal.  We just recently launched a dedicated section of our website on SSHD: as well as the new FAST Storage magazine which is more of an interactive e-book all about solid state hybrid technology.

The main difference between Apple Fusion Drive and Seagate SSHD technology: open vs. closed.   Apple hybrid technology is designed and built for Apple. Seagate hybrid technology is designed and built for…well, everyone.

Related Posts:

Guest Post: My latest experience with Momentus XT: Part I

Guest Post: My latest experience with Momentus XT: Part II

What’s so special about the Momentus XT 750GB? It’s 70% FASTer

Momentus XT 750GB – what the experts are saying


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  1. StoX January 10, 2013 at 3:23 pm - Reply

    I prefer the Apple Fusion Drive where at least I know how much SSD is inside the package. Seagate is the closed one here, hiding such critical information.

  2. StoX January 12, 2013 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    Found it:
    REVIEW: Apple’s New Fusion Drive

    One key difference between Seagate’s hybrid drive and Fusion Drive is instantly noticeable: Apple’s drive comes with 128 GB of flash storage (or SSD) and either 1 or 3 terabytes. Seagate’s hybrid drives offer much smaller storage solutions, just 4GB paired with a 500 GB HDD or 8 GB paired with a 750 GB HDD model.

  3. Mark Choi February 23, 2013 at 3:17 am - Reply

    Wow, the author really does not understand either technology AT ALL!
    Question for the author:
    The Seagate Momentus XT 750 has a 750GB platter paired with an 8GB SSD cache. How big is the resulting Hybrid drive?
    A 750GB HDD and a 256GB SSD formatted as a Fusion drive; how big is the resulting logical volume.
    The answer to these questions will highlight the errors in this article.

    Hint: Fusion Drive is NOT “Apple’s version of a hybrid drive”.

  4. David Kelly April 26, 2013 at 3:05 pm - Reply

    Apple presumably knows more about the data on the volume than does Seagate firmware. With hybrid drives the firmware has to guess what to do with the FLASH allocation. Apple on the other hand has direct control over the HD and the SSD and presumably knows its data at the file (vs block) level. Knows which are system files and which are user files. Which are applications, and which are data.

    I would be very interested in a hybrid drive much like Seagate offers if only the operating system was given control over managing the SSD. I don’t want drive firmware to guess. Yes, I realize there is a RAM cache and the firmware is already guessing.

    Or I would consider a Seagate hybrid if the cost was comparable to other non-hybrid drives. Then I wouldn’t be disappointed if the SSD part didn’t do anything for me.

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