Seagate stopping production of 7,200rpm laptop hard drives at end of 2013

Seagate stopping production of 7,200rpm laptop hard drives at end of 2013

Summary: As solid state drives appear in more and more laptops, the manufacturer will cease making the higher-performing drives.

TOPICS: Storage, Laptops

In a sign that solid state drives have become the go-to storage for higher-end laptops, Seagate has disclosed that it plans to end production of faster-spinning 7,200rpm notebook hard drives sometime later this year.

A marketing director for the drive manufacturer told X-bit Labs that the company will cease production of the drives "at the end of 2013." Seagate will continue to produce 5,400rpm drives, which are used in most mainstream laptops.

While SSDs still tend to cost more per gigabyte than hard drives, and can't provide massive, terabyte amounts of storage nearly as cheaply, their superior performance has made them the choice of pricier notebooks, including all new Apple MacBooks. They're also favored by Intel for its Ultrabook platform, though hybrid solutions using small-capacity SSDs and slower conventional hard drives are being used to keep prices down.

Given all that, it shouldn't come as a huge surprise that Seagate has made its decision. Budget buyers won't be concerned with the rotational speeds of 5,400rpm drives in their $500 laptops, and as more files are being stored online (which Seagate is helping along with its Cloud Builder Alliance), the need for huge capacity becomes less important than swift read/write speeds. So it looks like if you want a big, speedy conventional hard drive in your laptop, you will want to buy one this year.

Topics: Storage, Laptops

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Seagate HDs are junk

    They've never gotten over the Maxtor disease as far as quality control is concerned, so it doesn't surprise me at all that they've thrown in the towel and can't get it together.

    And given their lack of concern, I'd never buy an SSD from them either.

    IBM Deathstar repeat, anyone?
    • Your name is ironic...

      ...because I've never encountered a WD Caviar Green drive that didn't have issues. Had a 2TB one die on me after six weeks (was apparently quite common for them to die in the fashion mine did - would appear as a drive but be slow and sluggish to read files, would appear as a drive but not open, would appear as a drive that wanted formatting, would not appear at all) taking about 1.5TB of data along with it and a friend just had 2 WD Greens fail on him after a year of use.

      On the other hand, the 2TB Seagate I bought to replace the WD has not missed a beat in over 18 months, and I bought a 3TB Seagate on sale before new year's to supplement it and it runs just as well as the 2TB one if not better because it has USB 3.0.

      The only drives I've found to be more unreliable than WD Greens are 640GB Toshiba 2.5" drives, which will generally fail within 12 months of use, and most 1.5TB drives.
      • I share...

        the negative experience with Caviar Green drives. We found out that it was due to the fact that their "green" feature assumes you are using windows power management. If you aren't, the drive head parks every few seconds. We were losing an average of one drive per month in a server cluster.

        We eventually discovered you could reset the firmware to fix this "feature", but they didn't exactly advertise this fact. You have to go digging in support forums for this info.
        • I haven't had a problem and I run linux on my WD Caviar Green.

          I didn't patch any firmware.
        • Head park time was the problem

          The problem with WD Caviar "Green" drives, especially in Linux but to a slightly lesser extent in Windows (due to MS adding a feature that polled the drive every second), is that the firmware on all "Green" drives are set to park (unload) the heads every 8 seconds of idle time. Setting the head park time this slow kept unloading the heads every time the OS was idle for 8 seconds which jacked up the LLC count ("Load/Unload Cycle Count") by a few hundred in just an hour or so of regular use. In Linux based OSs it became worse since unlike Windows, Linux has little going on in the background while the OS is idle while Windows has all sorts of operations going on in the background which tends to keep the hard drive busy even when the user isn't doing anything. And the max value for LLC is 300,000. reach that and the drive fails. With a head park time of 8 seconds these "green" drives that had an OS installed on them caused them to fail in about a year or so.

          Parking the heads is how WD managed to get a "green" designation when the drives themselves weren't "green" at all. Back to the point, these drives were never meant to have any OS installed on them, they were meant to be used to storage only. But they don't make it obvious.

          A little boot-tiime program called "wdidle3" made by WD can be burned onto a CD which you can use to set the head park time for these WD "green" drives to 5 minutes which solves the problem. Once this is done, the drive can be used for an OS installation or storage.
        • I haven't had a problem with Caviar green drives, either

          My oldest one is two and a half years old. Still running although always do backups regardless.

          Threw away a 1TB Seagate USB drive because it FAILED after 3 months. No more pathetic Seagate for me.
      • WD Cadaver Drives

        I am always amazed WD is still around after all their issues or at least haven't renamed their drives. I remember working at a University 15 years ago and we had lab after lab of Cadaver drives die like some fatal disease was going around. I have to agree with Douglasac10 with saying Seagate has been the most reliable for me over the years.
        Mike MacNeill
        • Of course Mikey Wikie

          There's no such thing as "Cadaver" drives unless you don't know how to spell.
    • It's okay to be biased.

      Your parents still love you.
      • Got a problem?

    • Your view on Seagate is correct

      A Russian company that recovers data from failed drives put out several years of collected data on the drives they repair. They stated that this was not a controlled study but simply the data they had amassed over several years.

      That data not only pointed out which brands have the highest failure rate but also why and how they fail, very interesting report.

      Here is a link to the article and it backs up what I have always thought, Seagate is the worst make of drives. Ever since reading this article I have been buying Hitachi.,2681.html
    • I find it amazing

      that people who have 1, 2, less than 5 of anything in their life can make such global statements. it is the "I had one that died after 6 months, so they are all junk" mentality. I have 5000 computers I work with that have Seagate drives, and our failure rate in under a year is nearly none.. most drives have not even failed after 5 years. These drives are up and running 24/7, in use and doing something, even if just getting the network updates.
      I, personally, have also had superb luck with Western Digital drives.. in or out of raid configurations. I usually replace a drive with a larger one before they fail, and I do not do that all that often.
      Oh, and if your "drive" has a USB on it.. it is not the drive, but a drive enclosure. If that fails it may not be the drive, might be, might not, the only way to be sure is to move the actual hard driive to another enclosure, or into a PC, to see if it performs correctly or not in that environment. I have had enclosure issues as often as I have had drive issues..
      • agree

        People always seem to believe they are the center of the universe. If their cell phone coverage is bad then that provider must stink across the entire country. If their lawnmower went nuts and cut off the heads of a squirrel then the vast majority of that brand of lawnmowers must also do the same.
        • But I am the center of the universe

          And you're not. Too bad. Tough.

      • [ Putertechn ] not so today !

        That statement about being a drive enclosure is today Not So...
        I have recently tried to recover a WD 640Gb USB3 portable, which unfortunately had been dropped and so the heads had got out of alignment ... anyways, the short story is - these drives have the USB interface as part of the drive control board attached directly to the back of the HDD chassis, and NO standard SATA or PATA/IDE sockets !! - which makes it virtually impossible to attempt to do a recovery - let alone not able to run any diagnostics ...
      • Re: I have 5000 computers I work with

        But your sample could still be biased. That's what happens when you don't understand statistics.
      • I agree

        Only drives I have ever had problems with are the old time IBM when I chose based strictly on performance. Till date the best drives I have ever used to be Conner before Seagate took it over and did I don't know what with it. Moved production to China, burned their hands.

        Except for the 1 IBM, i have never had a single drive fail on me in past 20 years. And I have used over 60 to 70 of them.

        At the moment I have 5 Seagate 2.5" external drives in various settings, FreeAgent USB as well as bare bones in Mini-Itx systems to Media players, all older than 2 years, in operation for nothing less than 14-16 hours a day ranging in capacity from 360 gb to 1 TB. Not a single problem yet.
        • Connor

          I miss Connor drives :(
    • Brad Bias

      Your claim that Seagate is junk is nothing more than ignorant brand bios. I've seen every major brand drive fail at one time or another. All of the manufacturers have a bad model here and there and Seagate is no exception.

      As a senior Desktop tech with a specialization in video editing, I choose Seagate 7200 drives because they are more reliable. I've been using the XT momentus hybrid drives in my towers exclusively for over a year and my customers are stunned how much faster their old machines have become. Seagate's impressive 4 screen shot video on YouTube show's all of the drives in action and XT comes in slightly slower than an SSD drive and at under $100 for a 500 gig drive the value is fantastic. I will not be happy when and if they discontinue their 7200 RPM drives!
      • Of course I have brand bias


        Yes, ALL drives eventually fail. What's important is how long they last. Seagate was the go-to brand 7 or 8 years ago but not anymore.