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Toshiba announces 320GB and 500GB hybrid drives for laptops

A single platter backed by NAND flash
Fri Jun 21 2013, 17:10
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HARDWARE VENDOR Toshiba has announced two hybrid storage drives for thin and light laptops.

Toshiba is the second storage vendor offering hybrid drives for laptops that have hundreds of gigabytes of storage capacity without the high costs associated with large solid-state disk (SSD) storage. The firm announced two 1.8in hybrid drives with capacities of 320GB and 500GB that are 7mm high for thin and light laptops.

Toshiba's catchily-named MQ01ABF032H and MQ01ABF050H drives have a single platter but the firm didn't say how much of the capacity is made up of NAND flash chips. Instead the firm claimed "SSD-like performance" and quoted PC Mark scores, but perhaps most importantly the firm said that users would not need to install drivers to get the most out of its hybrid drives.

According to Toshiba, it has optimised the NAND flash and the microcontroller to support the storage hierarchy created by using both SSD and traditional spinning platter based storage. The firm said the drive's caching algorithms, which presumably use the NAND flash in the drive as a high-speed cache for frequently accessed data, learn usage patterns in order to improve performance.

Although competition among SSD vendors such as Samsung, Micron, Kingston, Corsair and Toshiba has led to prices coming down rapidly, hybrid drives currently offer the most effective way of bridging the capacity and performance gap between SSD and traditional hard drives and is a viable option for mainstream laptops.

Toshiba said samples of the two drives will be available from 28 June. µ


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