Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Everything You Need to Know about Hybrid Drives

We live in the world where our digital stuff gets compact but their capabilities seems improved over a time as well as several advancements were made to make it superior in performance, have high usability and acceptance rate, deliver best value for money etc. Same case were applies to our conventional hard drives which now comes in variety of higher storage capacity and sizes which gets reduced to its lowest, merely 2.5 or 3.5 Inch for Ultrabook or tablet PC's. Many other improvements were made to deliver higher performance rate, reduced time for starting PC or opening applications etc.

One major change took place that is instead of using platter for storing your digital information, many modern drives (commonly known as solid state drives and hybrid hard drives) uses flash chip based storing area, that reduces duration to copy or move data, boot Windows or initialize heavy applications/games.

This all becomes possible only after creating the caching algorithm (an inbuilt mechanism comes in devices firmware) which generally stores information about recently used applications, boot history and registry details. So, the system won't need to look for those specific details and instead, they only initialize the caching files and fetch all the details which the system requires to boot and start Windows as well as immediately start all the startup applications. As results, you can boot system and initialize applications faster.

However, because of using flash chips and modern firmware, solid state drives costs were so high that it hardly meets the budget of normal home PC user such as normal 128 GB SSD costs you around $135 or so, whereas a 2 TB of traditional hard drive would be purchased in the same cost. So if you're a computer warrior and needs high storage capacity wishes to have high PC speed, you can use hybrid hard drives (combination of both SSD and traditional HDD) to store all your documents and digital media files in hard drive and install applications as well as Windows on SSD area. 

How Hybrid Drive exactly works?

The way hybrid drives operate is pretty simple and easy to understand. It has no spindle motor and platter at rest most of the time which saves lot of power and produce much less heat as compare to mechanical hard drives, and thus heavily increases its life. As hybrid drives uses flash memory's buffer (not volatile in nature) to store data, there is no risk of loosing your valuable data when power failure strikes or system suddenly restarts.

Every time you access data from the platter, some extra amount of data is fetched and stored in the buffer. This is done in hope of future data requirements and providing fast availability for further requests, thus ultimately improves booting speed and keeps it reducing for further boot ups. The system speed will get increased to 4 times higher than it was before.

What so special about Hybrid Drives?

Seagate, the giant hard drive manufacturers, in 2007 introduced first flash chip based hard drive created by physically integrating both SSD and HDD, entitled Solid State Hybrid hard drives (SSHD) a.k.a. Hybrid drives. Though, Seagate announced their first hybrid drives release for public use in later 2010 named Momentus XT 7200 RPM.

Later, Western Digital and SanDisk join the trend and collectively introduced their first hybrid hard drives in the summer 2013, most thinly hard drive in history, named WD Blue. As like Momentus hybrid drive from Seagate, WD Blue uses the same small amount of NAND flash memory to boost performance and gives the same capacity to store large files. It'll available in various sizes from 8 GB to 24 GB of NAND flash memory and somewhere around 500 GB of hard disk drive capacity.

However, instead of using caching through firmware as in Seagate Momentus, WD uses driver software which is more relevant to computer operating system and readily improves PC speed even further as time passes on. However, this would suppose to be more prone to fail even by a low level of corruption to computer system and thus, your whole system might becomes unbootable.

This way, you can increase speed of using your PC up to 4 times. PC World experts has performed worldbench7 test on the Seagate 750 GB hybrid drives and found it little faster than the mechanical hard drives though much slower than the original solid state drives.

PC WorldBench 7 Test

Comparing capabilities of SSD, HDD & Hybrid Drives

Which one will best fits you or which is better among hard drive, solid state drives and hybrid drives? This is a quite typical question though, but fairly easy if you've a clear picture of what exactly you need either speed or performance or both.

Hard drive is a default storage device and used since decades ago.  It delivers the maximum storage capacity you need to keep you thousands of songs or even hundreds of movies. However, traditional storage technologies were failed to deliver the performance especially when the sizes filled with user data. Solid state devices were created to deliver the speed but limited in capacity and have high prices than hard drive. All the said devices are limited somewhere and won't provide all the benefits that is speed, performance and capacity.

To overcome these challenges, Seagate in conjunction with Samsung introduced the concept of hybrid drives by combining all the benefits of solid state drives and hard disk drives. This way, user will get the desired storage capacity and have enough capability to deliver the desired speed. Hybrid drives were specially created to overcome with failing or damaging problems and to be considered as very less frequent in dying or giving data loss phases throughout their life.

This article clearly explains points about the available high capacitive storage media's for current and upcoming generation. You can take joys of high speed environment while giving extra layer of protection to your highly sensitive data with these mightiest storage devices.

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