Toshiba Launches Its First Hybrid Drive for Notebooks

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2012-09-26
New Toshiba Hybrid Drive for Notebooks

A recent trend in notebook and desktop computers has involved the dual-drive PC, in which the portable device uses both a NAND flash solid-state drive and a fast hard drive. The swift SSD drive handles the BIOS and bootup, and the HHD does most of the remaining work.

Toshiba, the inventor of NAND flash 21 years ago, came out Sept. 25 with an alternative to this: its first hybrid drive for laptops and desktop PCs. 

Toshiba's Storage Products Business Unit said it has started customer shipments of its first Hybrid Drive, technically called the MQ01ABDH series. The new drive aims to provides the best attributes of solid state disks (speed and responsiveness) with the capacity (up to 1TB in storage) and cost-effectiveness of hard disk drives. HHDs typically cost about one-fourth of solid-state drives.

'Self-Learning' Software

The new 2.5-inch, 9.5mm-high SATA Hybrid Drive series features so-called "self-learning" caching algorithms that learn the system user's data access patterns in order to optimize performance, Patty Kim, product marketing manager at Toshiba's Storage Device Division, told eWEEK.  

The caching algorithms also manage which user data is stored to the NAND flash drive for quick response to the near-future access from the host, as well as how the data in the flash drive is updated,  based on intelligent access pattern learning, Kim said.

"We think the hybrid drive will overtake the dual drive (for laptops and desktops) because there's no special driver needed, it's OS-agnostic, specific chipsets aren't necessarily needed -- whereas with dual drives you need specific types of chipsets," Kim said.  "It works like a normal drive, but you get the surprise of SSD-like performance."

Since the hybrid drive is one drive instead of two, naturally the power consumption is cut way back, so battery times are substantially improved.

One SATA Interface, Less Complexity

"There's also only one SATA interface, so you reduce a lot of the complexities and get better performance," Kim said.

Toshiba's hybrid series come in 1TB and 750GB1 capacities. Kim said the MQ01ABDH 100 and MQ01ABDH 075 models are suited for ultrathin and standard-size  notebooks, gaming PCs, all-in-one and slimline desktops and other digital computing applications. 

The new hybrids will be featured in various notebook PCs, with the first systems shipping in time for the holiday season, Kim said.

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