If we had the same crazy patent environment when cars were being developed, every car would have a different way to control it. Patents should protect true invention for a relatively short period of time to allow the inventor to capitalize on his work. Now they are just barriers to keep the markets closed. Big companies cross license patents to keep their monopolies.
Looks like we need to have a new amendment that keeps the government from data mining and using the current state of technology to create a 1984 state.
Their hybrid nature does not affect data recovery. All the onboard SSD does is cache data that exists on the HDD.
There is no way to know what will happen to the overall usability of the drive if the flash fails (either through normal write exhaustion or catastrophic failure).
Hopefully, Seagate did the right thing in this case and the drive would turn into the equivalent of a pure mechanical drive. But, failure of the flash or its controller might cause the drive to become completely unusable. Unless they specifically deal with this as a "special" failure mode, it wouldn't be that different from some essential part of the controller on a purely mechanical drive failing (like the DRAM cache), and that usually turns the drive into a doorstop.
A small point. The flash cache is not critical to the operation of the drive. The DRAM on a drive is used for executing firmware, in addition to acting as buffer space, and is therefore critical to the operation of the drive. DRAM failure creates a brick because it can't run the firmware.
I died a little inside when WD bought Quantum.
Sorry Maxtor bought Quantum, not WD.