Toshiba Corp. demonstrated its first hybrid hard drives (HHDs) at Flash Memory Summit last week and revealed some additional details about the new product series. Apparently, Toshiba's hybrid drives will in many ways conceptually resemble Seagate Momentus XT with the main difference being performance.
Toshiba's hybrid hard disk drives will primarily aim mobile computers and will come in 2.5" form-factors. The drives will provide up to 1TB of storage capacity and will contain 8GB of single-level cell (SLC) NAND flash memory to speed up access to frequently used parts of the drive, thus increasing performance towards levels of solid-state drives without sacrificing capacity, reports SSD Review web-site.
According to Toshiba's own performance measures, the hybrid hard drive provides 80MB/s sequential read speed in video editing applications and a total point score in PCMark Vantage of around 16000. Thanks to NAND flash cache, the HHD-equipped machine started in around 12 seconds.
The relatively small amount of NAND flash memory utilized on the hybrid hard drive points to the fact that Toshiba's hybrid drive solution is in many ways similar to Seagate's. Instead of caching repeatedly accessed files, both Seagate and Toshiba hybrid drives cache frequently used LBA sectors, which reduces the amount of required amount of NAND flash memory, which makes it easy to utilize more reliable and long-lasting SLC, something that expands lifespan of the drives.
While it is clear that companies like Toshiba and Seagate are not going to achieve exactly solid-state drives-like performance on hybrid drives, it remains to be seen how expensive will the HHDs be and what other advantages that SSD have (low power consumption, high reliability due to lack of moving parts, etc.) they eventually offer.
Toshiba did not reveal pricing and availability timeframes for its HHDs. Earlier this year the company implied that the drives will be available by the end of the calendar year.