Leading hardware manufacturer Toshiba will soon become the 3rd manufacturer in the world to offer hybrid drives. The company had previously come up with a NAND flash which was a breakthrough technology in recent times.
Relatively, on Tuesday, the company announced that it will launch two 2.5-inch form factor Hybrid Drives that bring new levels of high speed read and write performance to notebook and desktop PCs. The new drives, which integrate high capacity hard disk drives and NAND flash memory in a single unit, will be available in two capacities, 1 terabyte*1 (TB) and 750 gigabytes*1 (GB). The company press release also noted that sample shipments of the new products have already started.
The new drives—the 1TB MQ01ABD100H and the 750GB MQ01ABD075H—use hard disks to deliver high level capacity and 8GB NAND flash memory as a cache memory to support high speed data throughput. As a result, read and write times are about three times faster*2 than in Toshiba hard disk drives with equivalent capacities. In PCs, the new Hybrid Drive reduces application boot times by about 40%*3. With a 2.5-inch form factor and high capacity, the new drives are ideally positioned as a high performance alternative for portable and desktop PCs.
In operation, data is allocated to one of the Hybrid Drive's three memory layers: DRAM buffer memory, NAND flash memory or the magnetic disk media. This process is enhanced by an algorithm that dynamically learns the user's data access pattern and stores data accordingly to the appropriate tier. High speed access is achieved by storing frequently accessed data in the NAND flash memory.
Further, Toshiba has informed that MQ01ABDH series of hybrid drives will be initially released in a package of 2.5 inches which will be used in Ultrabooks. Toshiba plans to make this implementation by the fourth quarter of 2013.
Prior to Toshiba, only two companies have ventured into the hybrid drive scene. They are Seagate and Western Digital. Seagate has been shipping its hybrid drive Momentus XT since 2009.Western Digital had announced that it is sending samples of hybrid drives to laptop manufacturers, earlier this month.
The hybrid drive from Western Digital is 5mm thick and sports a storage capacity of 500GB.Toshiba"s hybrid drive uses SATA 3.0 interface which is also used in Seagate"s hybrid drive. Toshiba"s hybrid drive also has a seek time of 12 milliseconds. It also makes use of 4k block sizes delivering a maximum 4,000 IOPS.
Toshiba representative Patty Kim was quoted saying," What we've done with our hybrid drive is fully married the benefits of Toshiba's knowledge of rotating media with the in-house expertise, IP and technology know-how in NAND flash". With the arrival of Toshiba in the scene, the competition has grown tighter amongst hybrid drive manufacturers. Hopefully we can expect hybrid drives with even better performance in 2013.