Samsung releases hybrid HDD

Written by Brett Thomas

March 8, 2007 | 14:35

Tags: #flash #hard-disk #hybrid #nand

Companies: #samsung

Aside from the past few months with totally flash-based drives, there haven't really been a lot of advancements in hard drive technology for a few years. Much of the focus had been on getting drive sizes increased rather than seek times to be faster, which has led many of us to be waiting for "hybrid drives." Well, the wait is now over - Samsung has shipped the first ones.

The new drives feature a combination of a regular platter array (standard HDD technology) and NAND flash memory. The flash memory increases the drive speed considerably by allowing commonly accessed files to remain on it rather than on the platters, thus virtually negating seek time. NAND flash is particularly good at small files being requested often, which frequently happens as one runs an operating system. Conversely, standard platter-based HDDs are better at large files being accessed less frequently, such as stored media.

Hybrid technology also comes with one other benefit - NAND flash is particularly low-power, and the data on it does not need to be read from the platter, thus eliminating the need to spin the drive. Samsung estimates that its new drives will increase battery life for notebooks by up to 30 minutes thanks to that feature alone, making the drive an asset for any road warrior. Of course, we'll believe it when we see the final result - but since the drives have already shipped, that won't be too long.

These models are entirely Vista compatible, though it may be wise to examine their usability in other, earlier operating systems before purchase if you don't want to use Vista. Also of note is the size of the flash, which isn't exactly what one would consider "spacious" - the NAND components are currently only 128MB or 256MB. That's plenty to offload drivers and frequently accessed parts of the OS, but it won't hold your entire install - which means some intelligent design will be needed to determine what moves into the flash space.

Hopefully, now that the pebble has been thrown, we'll see this technology snowball quickly. It would be nice to have a space large enough to house the entire OS on the flash portion - currently you could only include DSL or other small linux variants in their entirety. We recently showed how quickly you can install Vista by using flash memory, it would be great to see how quickly you can boot and run it.

Have you got a thought on the new drives? Let us hear about it in our forums.
Discuss this in the forums
YouTube logo
MSI MPG Velox 100R Chassis Review

October 14 2021 | 15:04