Western Digital is working on developing a hybrid drive combining spinning disk and solid state storage, along the lines of Seagate's Momentus XT. CEO John Coyne mentioned this in the earnings call for WD's second fiscal 2011 quarter, saying: "We also continue to evaluate the opportunity to combine rotating magnetic storage with …
Big fan here
The momentus XT has transformed my Dell M1330 so much so that it feels quicker than my desktop that has a faster processor, more memory and a fast desktop hard disk.
Bring em on.
I'm with you...
... I put one in my T61 and it's made a massive difference. Maybe not quite enough :-) but it's not magic.
Hard drives with flash likely to leak data
I can see the reason why flash hybrid drives offer better capacity than flash alone with better speed and cacheing than rotating alone.
But what happens at end of life when you figure that you can't both cheaply and reliably erase all data prior to disposal, due to the way wear leveling works, without taking the thing apart and incinerating the flash chips or grinding these to dust ?
Until the storage industry provides secure overwriting of blocks marked bad as an intergral design feature, these devices carry hidden lifecycle costs for purchasers likely to lead either to leakage of confidential data or much higher secure data removal costs.
This could be accomplished by using the full disk encryption feature of the SSD controller. Simply delete the existing key, generate a new, one-use key and re-encrypt the entire disk with the new key which is then safely destroyed.
Not involve the OS
I think it best to not involve the OS. The drive should transparently read and write cache the data. They've got to embed a super cap or something to enable that write cache regardless of the filesystem...
sync writes kill perf
Random Speed data point...
Put the 05.TB Seagate hybrid in my Dell Studio 15 laptop.. The only measured speed increase is the boot-time for me, since Unix derived Operating Systems cache so aggressively - you tend not to see speed lifts in the hum-drum browsing, compiling, <insert-whatever-you-do-here> (although it is faster).
But the boot-time is spectacular. From pressing the power button to being presented with the gnome greeter box is now 25 seconds. Ye olde disk took around 117 seconds, give or take.
The POST on the Dell is 10 seconds of that and in the Linux boot there is a full 10 seconds of waiting for the IDE timeouts on the probes of what devices are connected. So the load to login time is actually 5 seconds. Hellishly fast. Not as fast as I can boot some of my embedded Linux kit, but if we nixed the timeouts you'd be at 5 seconds which is within a poof-teenth of instant-on. And at no great IT-guru hackerdom difficulty either.
These suckers are probably the simplest "blindly plug-and-play" speed bump you'll get for your laptop short of putting in more memory (and most machines come with boggins of memory anyway these days, anyway...).
Very impressive speed lift for such a relatively small amount of high speed cache. It'd be interesting to get our Computer Architecture students to do a simulation of this rather than memory caches - the overall speed boost might actually be on par!
So does anyone know for sure if they do include a super cap - I could not find anything definite that said they could.
They appear to write to the hard drive first and more frequently used data to the SSD so it may not need a super capacitor?
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