So what is a hybrid HHD? It is basically a HHD with a small amount of flash memory. In theory this type of hybrid drive is expected to increase performance of a traditional HHD with the benefit of increasing the speed in which certain tasks are performed. Though the first crop of hybrid HDD will contain a small amount of flash memory, in the next five years the amount of flash memory will increase. The addition of a small amount of flash memory will be less expensive than using a flash memory drive alone.

In a recent article it states the following:

“The NAND [flash memory] in these hybrid drives will be pretty small. Seagate’s Momentus XT does a really good job with only 4GB of flash, and Nvelo’s Dataplex software accelerates HDDs very well with only 16GB of NAND,” said Handy, responding to an e-mail query.

Handy continued. “We expect the hybrid drives released in 2010 and 2011 to be introduced around the 4GB level, but over the forecast period, the amount of flash per drive should ramp to an average of 16GB.”

The upside for consumers is that they’re not as expensive as flash-only solid-state drives, which can add hundreds of dollars to the price of a traditional HDD. “A 4GB NAND — using SLC [single-level cell] NAND flash, which is required in this application — should add about $20 to the manufacturing cost of a HDD today, which might translate to an added $30 to 40 to the end-user.”

He continued. “A lot of consumers would be perfectly happy to spend an extra $30 to 40 to get the performance of an SSD and the capacity of a HDD. So far they have not been happy to spend an extra $200 to 500 to get an SSD that’s smaller than a HDD.”

As with any new technology, I believe it will take a few years before the price difference between a standard HDD and a hybrid drive will make it worth while to upgrade. If the cost is only $30 to $40 more, it would be worth the cost. IMO.

It would make sense that the OS could be installed on the flash side and the programs on the traditional disk side. Maybe, just maybe we will finally have a fast booting Microsoft Windows machine.

What do you think?

Source – CNET