updated 03:40 pm EDT, Fri October 22, 2010
Seagate says MacBook Air not the future yet
Seagate chief Steve Luczo talked down the effect of the new MacBook Air's all-SSD mix this week in a question and answer session following its latest results. He acknowledged that the designs would be "obviously pretty competing" but noted that SSDs were still in the minority at Apple, which he estimated sold just five percent or less of its Macs with flash storage. He also reiterated common problems with SSDs, such as their high prices, low capacities and tendency to bog down over time as they fill up and lose efficiency.
Luczo admitted that he himself had a previous generation MacBook Air and liked it, but also used it as an example of the problems Apple might face. He suggested instead that Seagate's hybrid hard drives and SSDs, like the Momentus XT, would be better since they use the SSD more as a cache than as main storage.
"I spend a lot of time cleaning out files so I can make room for not a lot of content, to be honest with you," he said during the call. "I can [also] tell you that my SSD drive takes about 25, 30 seconds to boot now versus the 12 seconds when I bought it. And that’s just an issue more related to OS than it is specifically to the technology, but again, with the hybrid, there are things that you can do to alleviate it so that your boot times are actually as compelling one, two, three and four years down the road."
The statements are somewhat misleading as the issue has mostly been solved on SSDs, albeit not yet officially in Mac OS X. The TRIM command is used in Windows 7 and updated Vista systems to automatically collect "garbage" left from deleting files and prevent the drive from wasting time clearing it out. Hints have existed that TRIM is coming to the Mac and may even be present on the new MacBook Air, but it hasn't been confirmed so far.
Seagate's leader still saw the new Air as being acceptable for those who live in a "net environment" like the cloud but thought that the mainstream or those with a local network cloud would need more space.