New HDD To Replace SD Cards In IP Cameras?

Seagate announced a 500 GB HDD, the 'Ultra Mobile HDD', that has the approximate footprint of a credit card for mobile computers:

While not specifically designed for surveillance, the size and low power requirements would appear to be a match for cameras featuring storage at the edge. While the drive claims (rather pedestrian) speeds of 5400 RPM, that would prove more than adequate for a single camera, or even a small gang of cameras, to write/rewrite upon.

The drive's specsheet also claims to consume only 1.4W, which is within the typical parameters of other integrated options (ie: IR LEDs) and is certainly powerable within Class2/3 PoE parameters.

No word on pricing, but an interesting potential for edge storage in a market infatuated with SD storage currently limited to ~64GB.

What do you think? Are magnetic disks at the edge a step forward or a step backward?

Good find. Main issue I see is that while it's incredibly thin it's still wide and long, e.g.

Maybe you could stick it inside a larger box camera? other form factors would be more challenging.

It entirely depends on the price point. I would guess that since they are competing with SSD the price point would have to be less per GB than them.

Agreed. Whatever works, cost effetively, is what will be used, if a manufacturer adopts it.

Physical dimensions will be the biggest hurdle for most manufacturers. While this drive is not "huge" in terms of size, it's footprint is big relative to an SD card, or even relative to some smaller domes. So, there will typically be a little bit of industrial design rework needed.

Brian, assuming cost is reasonable, how attractive would this form factor be to VideoIQ? (the only manufacturer I know of who sticks a hard drive in their cameras currently)

For us, it's not that different than our current 2.5" ruggedized drives. I don't think it would enable huge alterations to reduce the physical profile by much.

Large and cheap SDXC cards will be a reality well before this comes to market. We already have 256GB SD cards, even if they currently cost a fortune. They require 1.8 volts instead of 1.4 like this hard drive does, although I don't know how much of a difference that makes. SDXC supports up to 2TB, too. SD supports embedded systems, so that isn't a concern. And, of course, SD is much smaller.

Ari, it will be interesting to see what the price point of the 500GB 'ultra mobile HDD' is - because if it's say $250, that strikes me as pretty attractive (even if it's still 5x more per byte than a regular HD).

"SDXC supports up to 2TB, too."

But's that theoretical, right? Nobody has or will have 2TB SDXC cards for some time.

In the same way, wouldn't it be fair to say that future versions of the ultra mobile HDD could be 1TB or 2TB, no?

I do believe that solid state drives are going to continue to dominate the surveillance market. With that being said, forecasting technology trends is notoriously difficult. Comes down pricing and performance.

This product is incredibly slim, about half of crucials SSD and 30% less then Samsungs. But if it's at a $250 price point I don't think it's that attractive, a 500GB Samsung SSD can be had for $320.

Good point! Thanks.

This begs the question. If this ultra micro HDD is so compelling, why aren't cameras simply using SSD cards already???

I think they're still too big.

A 256GB SXDC card can be had for under $400 and sizes are getting bigger while prices are dropping. I don't think we'll see a camera taking a SSD card direct (until sizes are reduced considerably) maybe some specialty housings with integrated NAS utilizing SSD could be a posibility for remote locations that require high capacity storage. I think it's just to niche of a feature to really catch on. We utilize SDHC/SXDC typically just as a backup in case the network goes down, not as a primary storage function so we rarely have a need to go above 64GB or 128GB.

HDD's will have issues coping with the harsh environments in many camera installations. When you add the size of the drive to its relative fragility, I don't see much point in its application to edge video storage.