Are Hybrid Drives the Next Big Thing?

We'd all love to deck out our desktops and notebooks with high-speed, capacious solid state drives (SSD), but let's face, as good as the technology is, SSDs are still too frakking expensive for mainstream consumption. We're not talking about those puny 64GB SSDs that can be had for comparatively cheap. Sure they're affordable, but once you install an OS and a few programs, you're back to relying on a hard drive. The alternative? Buy a bigger a SSD. The only problem with that is who wants to drop over a grand on a 500GB SSD, especially when it takes two just to get to 1TB?

There's another alternative in hybrid drives, which combine the best of both worlds -- the capacity of a hard drive and some of the speed of an SSD. According to a new report by market research firm Objective Analysis, hybrid drives are primed to dominate the market.


"We expect the hybrid drive market to nearly double every year for the five years following its initial adoption, reaching 600 million units by 2016," said analyst Jim Handy, who authored the report, in a statement. "This blazing growth will result from hybrid drives replacing standard HDDs in mainstream PCs."

Hybrid drives add a nominal amount of flash memory to a conventional mechanical hard drive, which acts as a speedy buffer for frequently accessed data. In time, some analysts believe the amount of flash memory in hybrid drives will ramp to 16GB and beyond. The end result is a hybrid drive that's a little more expensive than traditional hard drives, but much faster than an HDD and far less expensive than an SSD.

For more on how these work and what performance gains you can expect, read our analysis of Seagate's Momentus XT Solid State Hybrid.
Via:  CNET
Comments
acarzt 4 years ago

These will take up space simply due to marketing and hype. Sounds great on paper... but it has yet to work in the real world.

3vi1 4 years ago

[quote user="acarzt"]

These will take up space simply due to marketing and hype. Sounds great on paper... but it has yet to work in the real world.

[/quote]

You don't use ReadyBoost?  Wasn't this one of Vista's main selling points?  :D

Drago 4 years ago

Hybrid drives are out now, Seagate has them in the 2.5 inch form factor. IMO this is nice for laptops since they are faster than the standard HDD and cost a little bit more and have lots of space where as a SSD will be faster with a lot less space for a comparable price. I see this trend trying to move over to desktop hard drives, but truth be told their first gen hybrids have had hiccups, just like the first gen SSD's. All it takes for hybrid drives to take off is to do the WD Black approach, have 2 HDD controler chips so one can read data to Solid state buffer and another to write from the buffer to the disk and be able to be managed by another chip. Seagate currently only has one chip to manage all of this so there is alot of room for improvement. As Flash media gets cheaper Hybrids will probably take over the standard HDD market as long as the hybrid drives are faster and just as reliable and dont cost near as much as SSD's.

inspector 4 years ago

I would love to get a few of these but still a SSD for my os drive :). Or i could just do with a ssd and plain drives for now as i don't really mind too much of the speed currently.

AKwyn 4 years ago

I'm not sure yet... I'd get one if they're able to make a special version that rotates at 10K RPM. And also if I can use these in a RAID configuration.

rapid1 4 years ago

Good point Taylor I was wondering what 3 of these would be like in a raid 5 set up. I don't know if I would trust them for a raid 0 really. I will say one thing as an owner of one of the smaller (64Gb) SSD's, it is cheap and as far as I can tell reliable as well as speeding up the system noticeably. I also am using Perfectdisk now on the 30 day trial which defrag's SSD's as well in a sense. It defrag's in several differing styles, and for SSD drive's it only maintains free space, and does so very well from what I can tell on 2 weeks of usage.

SmogHog 4 years ago

A bit of attempted sensationalism by the author of this article?

As what may be catagorized as a gamer and enthusiast I find my 120gb Vertex2 SSD more than sufficiant for a boot drive and they can be found now for about 60% less than I bought mine for.

A 500gb SSD or 2 in a raid configuration may be great in a enterprise setup but come on even mentioning this in this contex to this audiance....yikes.

AKwyn 4 years ago

[quote user="SmogHog"]A 500gb SSD or 2 in a raid configuration may be great in a enterprise setup but come on even mentioning this in this contex to this audiance....yikes.[/quote]

The main problem is that the only 500GB SSD's are MLC (not the infinitely better SLC) and if you run two or four of them in a raid configuration then you're going to be constantly backing up your data, buying new SSD's to replace the burned out MLC SSD and reinstalling the OS yet again.

That's why SLC is better then MLC, it lasts longer and works well in the long-run for RAID configurations. Too bad none exist in a large size like 256GB or 500GB.

frappyjohn 4 years ago

> The main problem is that the only 500GB SSD's are MLC (not the infinitely better SLC)...

I can see that SLCs are simpler and might therefore be more appropriate for a redundant array of inexpensive devices, but I don't see that they are infinitely better. It seems to me that SLC design is itself an attempt at a RAID-style striping architecture.

realneil 4 years ago

I just ordered the Seagate 500 Hybrid drive, and when I get the chance, I'll put it into the laptop to see how much improvement I get with it in there. I guess that they adapt to your usage and get faster the more you use them.

So,...........................................we'll see.

digitaldd 4 years ago

I'd actually like to try a laptop with one of these as getting a big SSD for your laptop is very cost prohibitive.

rapid1 4 years ago

Yeah digitaldd that is very true. Luckily my laptop has 2 drive bays. I currently have a pair of 300 GB WD laptop 7200 rpm 32Mb cache drives in there. I bet if I used an SSD for the OS drive, and one of the current drives for storage it would really add to the Laptop. SSD's use less energy, run cooler, and of course much faster. So it is almost a perfect situation for as OS SSD.

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