: Vista Supports Hybrid Storage Drives"> Seagate Technology and Samsung are the two drive makers shipping a limited number of hybrids to OEMs now. "At Seagate, we believe that hybrid drives bring real value," said Josh Tinker, market development manager for the companys personal business unit, in Scotts Valley, Calif. "Is the hybrid ready for prime time now? Yes, it is.""Now, is there room for improvement? Suretheres always room for improvement. Theres room for improvement in just about everything. But this does not detract from the hybrids we are delivering now," Tinker said. The original discussion of the issue occurred at a luncheon meeting of HDD and solid state drive company executives, journalists, analysts and attendees of the conference at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Market researcher IDC predicted in 2006 that hybrid hard disk drives will constitute 35 percent of all hard disk drives shipped with portable PCs by 2010. Dell and Samsung now are marketing light, thin and fast 32GB solid state laptops. But theyre expensive; the SSD option costs an additional $995. Hybrid drives will add about $300 to the price tag. Joel Hagberg, vice president of marketing and business development for Fujitsu, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., said Sept. 19 at DiskCon that the hybrid hard drive isnt far along enough in development and that hes not sure it has quite enough market value yet to justify the extra cost it would take to acquire it. Fujitsu, though a member of the new
Hybrid Storage Alliance, has not yet produced any of the new drives.
"Is booting up in 21 seconds [which is what hybrid drives are touted as doing] that much of a difference from Vista booting up in 28 seconds?" Hagberg asked. "I dont see anybody paying extra for that." There arent that many near-term benefits at this point, he said.
The hybrid drive "goes to sleep easier and more often [to save power], but that also means it has to boot up more often, and that could impact its reliability. I think we need to drive them around the field and test them for a while. I dont see them as a real-world technology yet," Hagberg said.
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Just the fact that hybrid drives save a full 50 percent of power consumption is "huge," Tinker said. "Were also seeing a 1.5x increase in reliability, according to the MTBS [mean time between stops] rating, plus a 20 percent improvement in boot-up time. Microsofts drivers are using the standard ATA commands and the T13 protocol for accessing flash memory. Those standards work all across the industry, so they should work fine in any hybrid drive," he said.