Unlike traditional hard disk drives or modern solid state drives, Hybrid drives uses non volatile flash memory along with higher capacity in order to improve the read/write speed of computer system. The main idea behind invention of hybrid drives is to let the users take advantages of large drive capacity and faster speed at the similar cost a user invest in purchasing a traditional HDD or a superior SSD. In fact, SSD’s are incredibly fast while saving or accessing the data but requires at least 3 times greater investment than normal HDD. So, its good idea to replace HDD or SSD or both with hybrid drives while taking the all benefits simultaneously at the same cost and convenience.
What is Hybrid Drive and How it Works
Many times computer users demand a storage device which can bring out the combined benefits of HDD (Low cost & higher capacity) and SSD (fast speed). Keeping this scenario in mind, Seagate developed the first hybrid drive (Momentus XT 7200 RPM 2.5-inch) in 2007 which contained a small SSD (merely of 8 GB size) and a hard drive of higher capacity where you can put your large databases or any files and folders. Later, Samsung and Microsoft joined the development after introducing the hybrid drives with Windows Vista.
Talking about the working of Hybrid drives, SSD works as a non volatile memory and keep your data in memory even in the absence of power source. This become possible by caching the recently accessed data or program files and serve the needed information more instantly from its stored cache without hunting for the information under hard drive platters. This will, obviously increase the overall speed of your PC. So, hybrid drive is rather like a caching system similar to the combination of RAM and cache memory in modern processors. Apple has also come up with a similar technology announced along with the launch event of new Mac mini & iMac, its fusion drive, a combination of HDD & SSD.
Why Use Hybrid Drives
Using hybrid drives could save you from investing huge amount of money just for the sake of either speed or size, by giving you the both at once. Below are some of its unique benefits which might worth considering while purchasing hybrid drives:
1. Higher data transfer rate and better I/O speed.
2. Available at the cost almost same as of a normal HDD.
3. Avoid you from the hassle of managing two separate drives.
4. In most cases, hybrid drive uses the SSD memory as long as you don’t require any data from the platters (hard drive) which saves power consumption and maintain the standard temperature inside the CPU case.
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5. It fasten the system booting as the files required to boot the system are stored in cache memory and can be easily accessed by the operating system at the time of booting. This can reduce the overall booting time by upto 10%.
6. Hybrid drives are as reliable as any SSD because it rarely uses the hard drive parts i.e., platters, spindle motor etc.
Drawbacks of Hybrid Drives
However, there are few relevant drawbacks which might ruin the singing benefits of hybrid drives, such as:
1. Reduced speed if the desired data aren’t in the cache memory. Means, SSD memory will store only recently accessed data and whenever user tries to access the rarely used data from the hard drive or externally attached storage device, the system will perform at a normal speed.
2. Hybrid drives can cost you a bit more than normal hard drives as the cost of SSD is also included along with the hard drive price.
3. Far less data recovery chances due to of using mixture of flash chip and hard drive components. Moreover, any existing data in the NAND (storage architecture of SSD’s) would permanently be non recoverable once the drive fails or become dead.
Recently, Western Digital, a major hard drive manufacturer has launched 2.5 mm thick hybrid hard drive with 32 GB of cache and 1 TB of data storage capacity. Moreover, this drive will costs you only $73 USD which is less enough to make it a best buy.
Author Bio: Oliver is a tech junkie and professional blogger, usually contributes on professional hard drive data recovery software to get back data from logically damaged or inaccessible hard drive.