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Seagate, Toshiba to Make SSD + HDD Hybrid?

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 29 comments

The best of both worlds, perhaps?

We all know that for the absolute best throughput of storage available to us today, it's in solid-state-drives. The problem with SSDs is cost and the limited storage capacity in comparison to the magnetic solutions. But upcoming solutions from Seagate and Toshiba may be able to come up with something in between.

Seagate is now sending out press notices of a "game changing" device that'll be revealed next week with Asus that can boost your system performance by up to 150 percent. Engadget was told that the product will be 20 percent quicker than a 600GB 10,000rpm SATA drive, 80 percent faster than a conventional 7200rpm HDD and able to boot "within six seconds of an SSD drive" and "learn about its user to dynamically decrease disk time, boot time, and application load time."

According to a German report from Computer Base, Seagate has paired 250 GB, 320 GB and 500 GB HDDs with 4 GB of SLC NAND flash. If this proves to be true, then frequently accessed files would be moved to the NAND area for ultra fast access while the larger files will be relegated to the magnetic storage area.

Toshiba may have similar ideas at work. The company was quoted by Tech-On as saying, "The hybrid of HDD and SSD enables to save energy … It enables to save energy by about 80% compared with a storage device consisting of only HDDs" – though it's unclear if Toshiba was referring to a singular device or combination inside a computer.

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  • 16 Hide
    Anonymous , May 21, 2010 9:20 AM
    Is this not the sort of thing that was being talked about 5 years ago? And if I recall, Samsung actually produced in 2007?
    And which was at one point going to be a requirement for installing Windows Vista on laptops, before Microsoft came to their senses and realized that would eliminate far too many customers?

    Revolutionary and game changing indeed.
Other Comments
  • 6 Hide
    chodaboy , May 21, 2010 9:11 AM
    I think i'd rather have a single drive(casing) with 1 ssd partition (boot, so it will need to be bigger then 4GB) and another partition that stores the data on a platter. This way i'll be able to fit this into my notebook's single slot.
  • 1 Hide
    joytech22 , May 21, 2010 9:11 AM
    Sounds interesting, would definitely be cheaper than a SSD while reading the most-used files faster.
    Also make's a sizable HDD but the memory could be increased to at least 10-15gb to hold a good amount of startup applications and other frequently used app's.
  • 16 Hide
    Anonymous , May 21, 2010 9:20 AM
    Is this not the sort of thing that was being talked about 5 years ago? And if I recall, Samsung actually produced in 2007?
    And which was at one point going to be a requirement for installing Windows Vista on laptops, before Microsoft came to their senses and realized that would eliminate far too many customers?

    Revolutionary and game changing indeed.
  • -3 Hide
    The Greater Good , May 21, 2010 9:22 AM
    Sounds neat, but not impressive. I'd rather use a 60 gig SSD (or two in a RAID 0) as the boot drive and use a magnetic drive as the storage/backup option. Yeah, it will cost more... but the speed will be worth it! Well, worth it if you hate waiting for things to load.
  • 2 Hide
    maigo , May 21, 2010 10:00 AM
    Wouldn't all the read/write cycles of a 500 meg drive kill the 4 gigs of SDD extra fast?
  • 1 Hide
    zodiacfml , May 21, 2010 10:23 AM
    for me, its good if the price premium over a standard HDD for the same disk space is around $20-$50. i don't game a lot and don't use professional apps so they can be installed on the hdd.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , May 21, 2010 10:46 AM
    An online store here in Finland already have it posted as a pre-order product, 148 Euros for the 500GB part, but then again, here the taxes are much higher.

    The Specs.:

    Kapasiteetti: 500 GB + 4 GB (SSD)
    Pyörimisnopeus: 7200 rpm
    Välimuisti: 32 MB (Cache)
    Form factor: 2.5"
    Korkeus: 9.5 mm (Height)
    Liitäntä: SATA2 (3 Gb/s)
  • 3 Hide
    AsianJetlag , May 21, 2010 11:24 AM
    Pretty useless tech I have to say.

    Just wait 2-3 years for SSD manufacturing costs to drop.
  • 1 Hide
    cmcghee358 , May 21, 2010 11:50 AM
    Seems to me it will lack the performance of SSDs, all the while being more expensive than it's HDD counterparts. Mediocrityx2. No thanks. Especially when you can get a 30-40GB SSD for 80-120 bucks. Nice try but they won't find a customer base for this until the SSD portion exceeds an OS install by 150% at least.
  • 0 Hide
    shin0bi272 , May 21, 2010 2:16 PM
    wouldnt this be along the lines of buying a usb flash drive and a standard hard drive (except for the speed diff on the ssd vs usb of course)? Here buy this 500gb hard drive and we'll throw in a 32gb usb flash drive. Then you could install windows to the flash drive and save everything else on your 500 gb drive. Why not just buy a 32gb ssd and keep your current hd? I mean seriously at this point who is buying their first computer? With current prices on 32gb ssd's in the 100 dollar range its not really that much of a stretch to think that people wont be getting an SSD as their boot drive soon.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , May 21, 2010 3:01 PM
    i think you all miss the point, you wont need to juggle which goes where, the drive will be intelligent enough to know which are the more often used files and pre-cache those to the NAND, you just plonk your files onto a single device and let it decide what to cache thats why it "dynamically learn about its user" so it can guess which files to pre-cache, this is more like an extension to the hard disk cache system, there was a time when hard drives had no cache now we can get up to 64meg, im guessing the cache now becomes 64 + 4 megs, the advantage of such a setup is that it would be dirt cheap to implement, probably barely more expensive then standard hard drives (based upon how cheap usb flash drives are) if they can deliver the performance i think this will become the norm, just like how cache became the norm on standard hard disk drives
  • 1 Hide
    dman3k , May 21, 2010 3:03 PM
    So it's basically "ReadyBoost" ... Yup.
  • 0 Hide
    fisshy , May 21, 2010 3:31 PM
    Interesting idea, i would like to see pricing though
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , May 21, 2010 3:33 PM
    dman3k

    ReadyBoost is limited by the speed of the USB port, segate can dump their cache directly into the sata port, but yes this is a glorified ReadyBoost, just without the need for windows 7 intervention
  • 0 Hide
    segio526 , May 21, 2010 4:36 PM
    I wonder how this performs in RAIDs (since it'll be dealing with stripes, not files per drive). Also, is the move-files-to-and-from-flash logic in the drive, on a special controller that needs to be installed, or in software that is loaded onto the PC?
  • -3 Hide
    sonofliberty08 , May 21, 2010 4:36 PM
    they should increase the capacity of the NAND flash to 12GB , and we can format it as the first partition to "C:\" where we install our system , and format the magnetic part to "D:\" for Programs , "E:\" for Storage , "F:\" for Pagefile .
  • 1 Hide
    Gopherboy6956 , May 21, 2010 5:03 PM
    Seagate actaully alread made one of these. I got one in my alienware laptop back in 2007, it was an 160gb standard hdd with 2mb of flash on it. It's not new at all.
  • -1 Hide
    gm0n3y , May 21, 2010 5:10 PM
    I'd rather have a 40GB flash drive for my OS + Pagefile. Then a 2TB for media.
  • 2 Hide
    blackbeastofaaaaagh , May 21, 2010 6:01 PM
    How well it works will depend on a algorithm used.
    Sounds like a good idea, though how well it works will depend on how well the algorithm is thought out. The system can analyze the systems data use history then only keep the often-accessed files on the SSD and the rest on the disk part.

    However the OS could also perform the data swap functions (with some CPU overhead) for systems with separate SSD and disk storage units.
  • 1 Hide
    shushikiary , May 21, 2010 7:08 PM
    To Jax, yes seagate did develope a hybrid drive and it worked VERY well, but dell, hp, etc said they didnt want to pay the extra money for the drive so it was scrapped (rather than selling it like WD does the raptor... why? idk).

    Wait tell the press release and you see the cost, you wont be upset by the cost/performance ratio. It doesnt have 12 gb of flash for the cost would be much higher I'm willing to bet.

    I'd tell you about the algorithm used to decide what is stored in the flash when, but then I'd have to kill you after. I will say its pretty ingenious.
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