SSDs (Solid State Drives) – fast, lean….but HOLY COW can they be expensive!! Traditional hard drives, by comparison, have huge storage capabilities, are cheap per GB…and usually vary in speed from “meh” (5400rpm) to “Great…but still not an SSD” (10000rpm). That’s where hybrid drives (A.K.A. Solid State Hybrid Drives; A.K.A. SSHDs) come into play. Think of them as the best of both worlds. You can get SSD-like speeds with larger storage capacities…..and not go broke in the process. Stick around to learn a little bit more about hybrid drive tech.
Hybrid drives first came out in 2007…but didn’t really make a splash until 2010 when Seagate launched the Momentus XT. The idea of slapping a small amount of high-speed flash memory onto a single drive? Sounded wacky – and awesome – at the time. In the few years since, we’re now seeing third-gen iterations from companies. In fact, just today Seagate announced their newest generation drives for laptops…as well as an SSHD desktop drive. A couple choice bits from the latest news…
“SSHDs are the most affordable way to increase your laptop performance. With storage performance up to 40 percent faster than previous generations, the Laptop and Laptop Thin SSHDs can add as much as 30 percent to total system performance – regardless of the processor inside the system.”
“SSHDHD technology is up to 5 times faster than a standard 5400RPM notebook hard drive. Boot a laptop in less than 10 seconds…” in Windows 8.
How does it work? Well, let’s take the new desktop SSHD that Seagate is touting as an example. The main storage weighs in at 2TB. That megaton of data storage is supported with 8GB of NAND Flash RAM on the drive. So you’ve got the 8GB of RAM dedicated to storing and seeking out data on the drive. That’s what gives you the blazing speed boost.
Quite frankly, if you’re a gamer that is eyeing the budget, this has huge potential. Near-SSD levels of speed at a lower price? I’m sold. In fact, I’m probably gonna juice up my next gaming rig with a couple SSHD drives.
Ah, but you’re probably thinking there’s got to be a catch. Well, there is…with the first- and second- gen units, hybrid drives require a “break in period” where it learns which data to cache…as noted by Marco Chiapetta over at PC World. So it will be fast – and get faster as it ramps up. I don’t know how much it’ll be a factor with the third generation of SSHD, just bear that in mind.
Why write about this news on the HP blog? Well, I think this is the sort of technology that will make a great addition to a PC you already have at home….or, if you’re on the market for a new rig, don’t be surprised if you see hybrid drive options when configuring your next PC.