The evolution of hybrid drives, Seagate's new SSHD 500GB

Subject: Storage | April 19, 2013 - 04:20 PM |
Tagged: sshd, Seagate, Hybrid Drive, 500gb

We have seen many hybrid drives come and go, most of which only benefited desktop users who were accessing certain files often enough that they were cached on the flash memory.  Seagate has introduced a new iteration of the SSHD specifically for laptops, uniting 500GB of 5400 RPM platter based storage with 8GB of MLC NAND and a 64MB cache which [H]ard|OCP recently benchmarked.  They didn't forget desktop users as they released 1TB and 2TB models at 7200 RPM but it is the laptop version which is perhaps more interesting as not many models allow the installation of a second drive like desktops do.  The testing results were mixed, with several obvious benefits interspersed with odd performance changes after multiple runs, however the small price differential between a standard HDD and a SSHD might just convince you to pick up this new breed of hybrid drive.

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"Seagate has introduced the next generation of Solid State Hybrid Drives, commonly referred to as "SSHD." These drives use a small amount of MLC NAND to accelerate the performance of a 5400 RPM spinning disk. Today we test the mobile version against other available SSD caching solutions."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

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Source: [H]ard|OCP
April 20, 2013 | 07:54 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

On this type of drive, will the flash memory still be accessible if the hard drive portion crashes (head crash) or a hard drive protion of the drive falure! and can the drive be configured to have all the installed programes, the OS, settings and user profiles stored on the Flash portion, which if the drive had 64 GB of flash memory would be easy for most users! Until the drives come with at least 64 GB of flash memory, calling the drive a Hybird drive is just a marketing ploy! Any amount of flash memory less than 64 GB that comes built into a hard drive should be called secondary disk cache or Level 2 flash disk cache! The sweet spot for me is at least 64 GB of flash, and 128 GB would be great, get at least 64GB of flash, then shut up and take my money!

April 21, 2013 | 03:49 AM - Posted by ET3D (not verified)

People get hang up on naming. It's a hard drive which uses flash memory for caching. It's somewhere between HDD and SSD in performance. Hybrid is good enough for this. Making flash and physical parts accessible separately doesn't make sense. Just buy separate drives.

April 21, 2013 | 10:37 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

No Hybrid is not a good term for this, Hybrid in this context is marketing BS, and any hard disk with such a small amount of flash, is just readyboost repackaged!
A real Hybrid drive should be able to store the entire OS, including user profiles and settings. and have some room remaining for caching frequently used data! 64 GB is the lower limit for most windows systems and a good portion, if not all, of the installed applications for the average user!

April 21, 2013 | 10:33 AM - Posted by razor512

For those drives, the flash part usually caches random bits and has no idea where your files begin and end. The drive just detects which sectors you seem to like accessing, then it caches whats on it, so recovering data may be a problem from the flash.

My main concern is how long will that MLC flash last. Companies lie dell which implemented 8GB of flash n some of their laptops for intel SRT, used SLC to cope with constant writing as your usage changes slightly each day.

Their new shortened warranty may also speak to the switch to MLC flash for the cache.

One thing I have also been wondering is how well'do these drive handle a disk defrag, they do not look at data on a file level so what does a defrag do to it?

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