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Data Storage Hardware

Hitachi-LG Debuts HyDrive, Optical Drive With SSD 88

Posted by kdawson
from the two-in-one dept.
MojoKid writes "A fairly new Hitachi-LG joint venture announced the world's first hybrid optical drive, called the HyDrive. This unique device is a notebook optical drive with an SSD built in. When you slide it into your machine and it connects via SATA 3Gbps, your computer recognizes not only a DVD burner / Blu-ray drive, but also a 32GB or 64GB SSD. This configuration allows you to have an SSD without taking up the single 2.5-inch storage slot within your laptop, so you could then have an optical drive, an SSD, and the standard hard drive as well. There are also a few nice tricks you can play in caching with the on-board SSD. Error-correction techniques can be employed that allowed a damaged disk to be be playable." The HyDrive will ship to OEMs in August; a smaller version usable in netbooks is planned for 2011. The Register has some more technical details and specs.
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Hitachi-LG Debuts HyDrive, Optical Drive With SSD

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  • Cost? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by IDK (1033430) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @07:18AM (#32416940) Homepage
    What's the cost? Every feature in the world for infinite cost doesn't make a good product...
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Read the article.
    • by couchslug (175151)

      "What's the cost? Every feature in the world for infinite cost doesn't make a good product..."

      HUSH! The Early Adopters will hear you and might not subsidize my future purchases.

      "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" :)

    • It is expected to add $200 to the cost of a laptop depending upon SSD size. Nice job reading the article, it's far too much to expect on /.
  • "error correction" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Speare (84249) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @07:19AM (#32416950) Homepage Journal

    Error correction techniques can be employed that allowed a damaged disk to be be playable.

    And since it's a Blu-Ray device, always remember that "DRM techniques can be employed that allow a valid purchased commodity disk to become unplayable."

    • And how is that a specific problem of blu-ray above DVD or any other digital distribution format?

        • Interesting. I thought updates were only meant to be required for non-playback features. Lame.

          • Interesting. I thought updates were only meant to be required for non-playback features. Lame.

            Why would you think that?
            That's the whole key (lol) to their encryption schemes.

            DVD got hacked because a shitty player had its keys basically out in the open. Can't revoke those keys. Once you got they keys for one player, you broke CSS. They then started doing stupid shit that they liked to do with game CDs and some audio CDs. Fuck up the structure, include damaged areas that ripping programs would fail when trying to read, etc. That's why DVD rippers have "path player" options, where they only take p

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by frozentier (1542099)
          Too bad there isn't a way to ship the firmware update on a data part of the disc itself. Then you insert the disc, firmware is upgraded (the first time you insert), and no internet connection is ever needed.
          • by tlhIngan (30335)

            Too bad there isn't a way to ship the firmware update on a data part of the disc itself. Then you insert the disc, firmware is upgraded (the first time you insert), and no internet connection is ever needed.

            Two problems.

            One, the obvious technical one - there are many players on the market, and each has a different architecture. You've got PCs and the players for them (PowerDVD, WinDVD, TotalMedia Theatre), the PS3 (Cell-based), and many Blu-Ray players that may or may not be based on many differing designs,

            • by Pharmboy (216950)

              Third problem: Sony once tried software that automatically installed itself when you inserted a CD in your computer. They called it DRM, the rest of the world called it a rootkit. I don't want software automatically running on my system ever, and already disable autoplay on my optical drives. Of course, in the Sony instance, it wouldn't have mattered since the rootkit was installed secretly, in the background.

          • Not all players have to implement it, but yes, this IS possible.

            Players HAVE to be upgradeable by disc (download an ISO from the site), via internet / flash drive, OR via LOLSERVICEPORT (send it in for service and wait 2-6 weeks).

            Players CAN read firmware upgrades off of the actual Blu Ray and do a live update the first time you try to play a title that has revoked your player's keys.

            I doubt this will ever be used though, simply because there's tons of models out there each requiring unique firmware and you

    • Even worse:

      Error correction techniques can be employed that allowed a damaged disk to be be playable.

      No they can’t!

      All optical media already have at least CIRC [wikipedia.org] ECC. If that fails, you’re done.
      ECC is not magic. It is additional information that is encoded in a very wise way, so you can calculate missing data from the rest of the data.
      Storing that additional information on an ECC won’t help whoever you give the disc to. And it also does not help you, if someone else has ECC on his SSD, when you get a disk from him.

      And the same think also makes it very unlikely that it’s us

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Will this save us the trouble of digging up a DVD just to play a game that is already installed?
  • Darn... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Manip (656104) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @07:23AM (#32416982)

    When I first read the title my mind thought about a really kick butt cache drive that allowed you to throw in a DVD/Blu-Ray disc, read in its entire contents in one pass - saving power, increasing performance, and that annoying buzzing sound. Shame what they've created here is nothing remotely that interesting or creative. In fact I'd even go as far as to say the Optical / SSD combo drive is a useless concept on the face of it. As if USB slots are hard to come by or laptops lack SSD/MMC card slots?

    • by DJRumpy (1345787)

      I could see some value in this, if you wanted to put your system files on the SSD and use the internal HD for the rest (assuming your OS allows it). I'm a bit surprised that the capacities are so small, considering they are mass producing 500 GB SSD's in laptops like the Macbook Pro. The article does note that the second generation drives will sport a 256 GB drive, which is a bit more acceptable so if this is grabbing your interest, I'd suggest waiting until they have decent capacities.

    • You could easily write a short script to do that if you wanted.. can't take much to copy the contents of the disc and mount it in a virtual drive if you have the appropriate utilities installed.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        You could easily write a short script to do that if you wanted.. can't take much to copy the contents of the disc and mount it in a virtual drive if you have the appropriate utilities installed.

        On the PS3 you could easily write a short script to do that if you wanted because you can just dd from the device. On other systems, copy protection might work.

    • Re:Darn... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ephemeriis (315124) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @07:35AM (#32417068)

      When I first read the title my mind thought about a really kick butt cache drive that allowed you to throw in a DVD/Blu-Ray disc, read in its entire contents in one pass - saving power, increasing performance, and that annoying buzzing sound. Shame what they've created here is nothing remotely that interesting or creative.

      What they've created here is a piece of hardware. Exactly how it gets used will largely be determined by software. There is absolutely no reason it could not be used in the way you envision. Maybe Hitachi doesn't plan to implement anything like this... But that wouldn't stop some other manufacturer from developing what you suggest. Or you could write your own software to do it.

      In fact I'd even go as far as to say the Optical / SSD combo drive is a useless concept on the face of it.

      Space is generally at a premium in laptops. If you can cram an SSD and an optical drive into the same space, you no longer need room for that 2.5"/3.5" laptop HDD/SSD. You can use that space for additional storage... Or you could fit in a bit of bulkier hardware on the motherboard... Or bigger speakers... Or a larger battery... Or better cooling...

      As if USB slots are hard to come by or laptops lack SSD/MMC card slots?

      Both of which are poor replacements for your internal/primary storage device.

      • I'd have to side with the GP on this: this device has neither the benefit of saving space, like a nice built-in SSD would have (it takes all the space a DVD drive needs, which for a netbook, is huge), and it probably consumes a bit more than a SSD by itself, even in standby. Of the two issues I'd definitely like to stress the first one. Netbooks are so space (and weight) conscious, that they don't usually have a DVD/CD drive.

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          What the heck are you smoking? I'm sorry, but how does it not save space? Instead of an internal 2.5" drive for permanent storage AND a SEPARATE optical drive, you now only need the slot for the optical drive for both the optical drive AND permanent storage.

          If done right, this should be great for ~12" to 15" laptops. Smaller than this, and you probably won't have an optical drive. Larger than this, and saving space might not be that much of a concern to begin with.

      • If you can cram an SSD and an optical drive into the same space, you no longer need room for that 2.5"/3.5" laptop HDD/SSD.

        the flip side to this logic is that in most cases, both of these can be replaced in less than 10 minutes with nothing more than an eyeglass screwdriver. Consolidating them hopefully also involves the ability to detach them, because I'd hate to have to replace my hard disk because my Blu-Ray drive died, or vice versa. It sounds like a great idea on paper, but the increased cost of replacement doesn't sound to wonderful, especially if it also involved the added headache of having to clone the hard drive unnec

      • by SpeedyDX (1014595)

        What they've created here is a piece of hardware. Exactly how it gets used will largely be determined by software.

        "Ah - You're a Linux user, I see." [xkcd.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drachenstern (160456)

      I don't know about you, but I have no problem using a [32|64]GB SSD on my laptop as my root drive and using a 500+GB rotating disk as my primary data storage mechanism (especially since laptop drives are getting up over 500GB into the terabyte+ range) thus giving me the performance boost of SSD for booting and program launching. Since it's rare that I'll be launching a program AND watching a BD movie, I can't see too much contention on that one interface (although I'm not saying there won't be contention, t

    • by jochem_m (1718280)
      usb is a lot slower than sata 3gbps... and some laptops only have two usb ports, which would be taken up by an external keyboard/mouse.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Animaether (411575)

      When I first read the title my mind thought about a really kick butt cache drive that allowed you to throw in a DVD/Blu-Ray disc, read in its entire contents in one pass - saving power, increasing performance, and that annoying buzzing sound.

      And have their Blu-Ray license revoked; the licensing party would be none to please with essentially making a copy of the blu-ray onto the SSD.

      Of course you, yourself, would still be free to do exactly this using any one of the blu-ray ripping tools.

      In fact I'd even go

      • by T-Bone-T (1048702)

        For now, I don't think many people will be ripping Blu-Ray discs to the SSD. They are quite large and it would take a very long time.

    • by Enleth (947766)

      USB is a CPU-bound bus. It requires every packet to be at least partially processed by the CPU. MMC is even worse, the damn things does almost everything in software as most MMC "controllers" out there are just GPIO passthroughs. A side effect of this is that the CPU is unable to enter deeper C-states when a file transfer to/from a thumbdirve or an MMC card is in progress, wasting significant amounts of power on something so trivial.

      An SSD connected to the SATA bus, on the other hand, is able to perform a b

      • I've used a few ARM SoCs that could do DMA with MMC/SD/SDHC. And when you're in DMA mode things like multiblock transfers are available.

        • by Enleth (947766)

          I guess the key is "ARM" here. Unfortunately, x86 laptops are equipped with either internally connected USB card readers (the worst of both worlds, really) or some PCI-based Ricoh crap that generates roughly 800 interrupts/s during a file transfer.

          • Well ARM is the most popular 32-bit processor architecture in the world (possibly of all processor architectures, but I'm not sure of those numbers).
            So it's not unusual to mention ARM given its massive mainstream popularity.

    • by Machtyn (759119)
      Like you, I was thinking this would be a kick-butt caching drive for an optical disk. But, as others have suggested, the lack of that feature is easily remedied with software. A 32GB or 64GB drive would be nice for the kick-around netbook or laptop. A lot of low-end laptops come with 80GB or 120GB HDDs and that seems to be enough.

      I don't know if the article mentions it (need to keep my page clicks to a minimum at work ;) But the other advantages I can see for this is to reduce size and weight of the
    • by jittles (1613415)

      You've got to be off your rocker. I threw in an 80GB SSD into my laptop to increase battery life and computer performance. Not does my battery last a lot longer in class (ah the joys of grad school), but it's a lot snappier too. The downside? I no longer have the storage space to feel comfortable with the triple booting that I had going on when I had a 500GB drive in there.

      Now I carry the old drive as an external for when I need to boot another OS. Imagine having the speed of an SSD and the storage ca

    • by dargaud (518470)

      Shame what they've created here is nothing remotely that interesting or creative.

      I recently brought back to life a 10 year old laptop. It works good, but I could think of 2 ways to extend it simply: with an SSD in the CD slot (without CD player which is hardly useful anymore), and with an SSD in the mini-USB slot. I could not find any SSD in those formats. Do they exist ?

  • One SATA port, two devices - does the SATA spec even support this?

  • This is exactly what the current iMac needs :)

  • Bus bottleneck? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by VincenzoRomano (881055) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @07:42AM (#32417120) Homepage Journal
    As there will only be a single SATA interface, it will be shared between the SSD and the optical drive.
    What if you need to burn data that's on the SSD?
    • by jibjibjib (889679)
      The bottleneck will probably be the speed of the burner. If the data's going from the SSD to RAM and back to the burner, the bus has to carry data at twice the rate of burning, which it can do easily.
    • Re:Bus bottleneck? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @08:02AM (#32417260) Homepage

      An optical drive is barely noticeable on a 3 Gbps SATA connection. Unless the SSD is really saturating the interface on its own, that won't be a problem. And that's only if you do tons of other stuff, if you just burn something the SSD will be idle 95% of the time.

    • by gad_zuki! (70830)

      Burn speeds on optical media are pretty slow when compared to the SATA limit. Heck, its slow compared to USB. Read speeds of CD/DVDs is only a couple of megabytes per second average over the whole disk. USB2.0 or Ethernet transports to either flash or spinning disk are at least 10x that.

      Optical media is the floppy disk of today. Not sure why we are even still using it. Legacy and retail concerns mostly. External drive storage is cheaper and faster. I can't imagine buying a BD burner for data. I'd rather j

  • by ATestR (1060586) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @07:52AM (#32417192) Homepage

    I'm not going to try to track it down now, but I seem to remember reading about SSDs having a limited life time. High read/right operations would effectively use that lifetime up more quickly. This doesn't bother me too much with a normal memory key, since the one I get this year will last at least a couple of years, and by obsolete in a couple of months anyway. But an internal SSD? What do you do if/when that sucker dies? A key I can toss, and buy a new one. An internal chip will require surgery on my laptop.

    • by LordKronos (470910) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @07:59AM (#32417238) Homepage

      Reading has no wear effect on SSDs. Writing does, but it's a very high limit. Intel set the bar pretty high with the the X25-M, and it was something like 20GB per day, every day for 5 years the enterprise version is even higher, since it uses SLC instead of MLC flash memory). I haven't tracked the latest releases from other brands, but I imagine they are pretty similar.

      • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@@@slashdot...org> on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @10:45AM (#32419234)

        Bullshit. They can state all they want. But until those 5 years have passed, and we have actual data on a significant amount of SSDs, it’s all just wild guesswork right out of the marketing department.

        Oh, and others are not pretty similar, but much much worse. You know that, because you deliberately picked Intel. The only manufacturer to have the balls to make up numbers that are in the acceptable range. (But they are still made up. Unless they got a time machine.)

        • Bullshit. They can state all they want. But until those 5 years have passed, and we have actual data on a significant amount of SSDs, it’s all just wild guesswork right out of the marketing department.

          Oh, and others are not pretty similar, but much much worse. You know that, because you deliberately picked Intel. The only manufacturer to have the balls to make up numbers that are in the acceptable range. (But they are still made up. Unless they got a time machine.)

          There are many types of technologies that are put through accelerated life testing *precisely* for the reason of having engineering test data and not "marketing data" that form the basis of what manufacturers claim for their products. Now of course that doesn't mean that marketing folks won't bend the truth or play with words, but any manufacturer that simply makes up numbers won't be around very long.

          Of course accelerated life testing isn't perfect, but this is how manufacturers are able to make reasonabl

          • by Hatta (162192)

            Until those lifetimes have passed, we have no way of knowing whether those predictions were reasonable or not. There's no reason to believe that the average failure rate of a pool of brand new devices has anything to do with the chance of that device surviving for 5 years or more. Consider if we were to do an experiment on a bunch of devices that had time bombs implanted in them, set for 2 years in the future. No matter how big you make your test pool, or any statistical manipulations you come up with, y

            • by Jeng (926980)

              If you want to know reasonably how long the product will last then look at the warranty.

        • Well, actual testing is ideal, but I'm sure their estimations aren't far off. If they claim that they have at least 20GB / day for 5 years, and can run them at 10000 GB / day for 3-4 days then I think that's a fair estimate. Of course there are other factors involved, but it is far from wild guesswork from the marketing department.

        • You can get angry and accuse me of cherry picking the data all you want. However, this isn't bullshit. These companies do put a reasonable amount of effort into testing this stuff, and especially with these sort of non-mechanical components, it is reasonably predictable (outside of isolated cases of random failure).

          And you are right...I did deliberately pick intel. The reason I picked them is because their drives are the one model I know most about. At the time I purchased my first drive, the first generati

      • Reading has no wear effect on SSDs. Writing does, but it's a very high limit.

        Unfortunately reading NAND flash is not "free", i.e. a cell's lifetime is reduced simply by reading *neighboring* cells. The effect is called "read disturb". I'm not an EE, but the explanation makes sense.

        From a JPL/NASA document: http://trs-new.jpl.nasa.gov/dspace/bitstream/2014/40761/1/08-07.pdf [nasa.gov]

        "Disturb testing is designed to study the robustness of the data storage of the flash cells when the state of a nearby cell is being changed, either through programming or reading. A disturb failure means that t

    • I'm not going to try to track it down now, but I seem to remember reading about SSDs having a limited life time.

      Because all the other components in a computer last forever.

    • OMG you're right. Also, seems a little weird, doesn't it? OK, most won't mind an SSD in their optical drive, but what happens when they start turning up in keyboards and mice? or in LCDs? Or in daughter cards and motherboards? My God, man... what happens when they get into the PSU?? Before we know it.. .there's gonna be SSDs in SSDs! And by then it WILL BE TOO LATE.
    • Someone *always* seems to remember that SSDs have a limited life span, pretty much any time someone discusses SSD in any forum whatsoever. Which is usually OK, because half a dozen other people obliging provide the appropriate... "wear leveling" mumble mumble "no wear from reads" mumble mumble "better lifespan than mechanical in many cases"... replies

      Thing is, SSD has been available for years -- shipped installed in laptops and desktops; and in ever-increasing capacities. They've also been seeing incre

  • by LordKronos (470910) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @07:55AM (#32417204) Homepage

    Over the years, if I've had 1 component fail more often than hard drives, it would probably have to be optical drives. I just cannot see tying my SSD to an optical drive.

    • by T-Bone-T (1048702)

      That's a pretty good point. You don't want to have to replace two devices just because one failed.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Over the years, if I've had 1 component fail more often than hard drives, it would probably have to be optical drives. I just cannot see tying my SSD to an optical drive.

      This device will permit OEMs to eliminate the hard drive mount location in designs which utilize it, saving space. It will also permit OEMs to add a second SSD to a laptop which otherwise has too little storage space, given that SSDs are not available in densities so high as hard disks (yet.) The primary appeal isn't the aftermarket.

    • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@@@slashdot...org> on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @10:48AM (#32419274)

      I can not see why I would need a optical drive at all anymore...
      The OS installs from an USB stick. And the rest goes over the network.
      Optical drives are the new floppies. Except that in this case, some anachronistic companies think they can put stuff on them, and actually sell them. Lol. Sell data. Now that’s just silly...

      • by owlstead (636356)

        Which is why I have replaced my optical drive with a nice one from newmodeUS (the only one I could find after a nice tip on Slashdot, I'm not affiliated). Now I can keep Windows/backup on my HDD and still use the SSD in the optical bay. Most high end laptops have specific replaceable drive bays. If you are (like me) stuck with a generic one, try one of these.

        7 seconds for Ubuntu to boot on a cheap SL300 and a 160 GB HDD as media/backup/windows drive. Sweet.

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