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.