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Samsung Ships Hybrid Hard Drives 118

writertype writes "ExtremeTech reports that Samsung has become the first company to begin shipping hybrid hard drives as discussed last fall on Slashdot. (Some photos here.) Unfortunately, there's no word yet (beyond 'soon') on when retail shipments will begin, or when (or if) 3.5-inch models will be available. Note that these hybrid drives are different than the ReadyBoost USB flash drives optimized for Vista; hybrid drives contain a smaller amount of flash, and work as a write cache for your notebook drive, extending battery life."
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Samsung Ships Hybrid Hard Drives

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  • Re:Linux (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @12:17PM (#18277158) Homepage Journal
    They probaby use a SATA interface so no driver other than one for you SATA controler will be needed.
  • by jhfry ( 829244 ) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @12:32PM (#18277380)
    can the user control what is cached and what isn't?

    For example, I could care less if a config file I will likely never edit again is cached, but I want my database to be cached for higher performance.
  • Re:Linux (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @01:07PM (#18277838) Homepage Journal
    A driver is probably needed to handle the hybrid part - to know what to do with the special features that are new to consumer drives. I think the OS has to decide what to put on the flash cache, I don't think that the drive can realistically be expected to do that on its own. With a current generic driver, I don't expect that there would be any benefit to using this type of drive.
  • by AaronW ( 33736 ) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @01:16PM (#18277942) Homepage
    I would like to see a battery-backed RAM drive with FLASH as well. I think that for journaling filesystems it would be great for performance since the journal could be written into RAM and then later written to disk. The drawback of the RAM based drives I saw was that the battery is only good for a limited amount of time. The way to fix it is to provide less battery time but use that time to write the RAM out to FLASH when the power is cut. The advantage of combining RAM and FLASH is that RAM is very fast to write to and has an unlimited number of write cycles. Of course, I'd really like to see one of these new memory technologies come out that combines the best of DRAM and FLASH.
  • Re:well (Score:5, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Thursday March 08, 2007 @01:59PM (#18278496) Homepage Journal

    ntfs.fsck still needs to be written, but the situation is now vastly better than it was less than a year ago.

    Amen! I have ntfs-3g on my Ubuntu (Edgy) partition. So long as I do a safe shutdown, and the filesystem is marked clean, everything works wonderfully and very quickly (not that I had serious speed problems with captive-ntfs, but I seldom deal with very large files.)

    It's quite amusing that Linux is the only OS that can natively (as in, as a filesystem, not just in some ftp-like application) handle basically every major filesystem in existence today, what with the addition of NTFS support.

    Linux is the only convenient way for me to transfer files from a HFS+ volume to a NTFS volume or vice versa. You can do it on Windows by using macdrive, but that is like using winzip or something. And it's damned slow. You can't do it on macos AFAIK, at least I haven't seen working NTFS R/W on macos yet.

    And of course linux also supports a shitload of BSD formats, XFS, JFS, ZFS...

  • Wait for Intel PRAM (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @02:12PM (#18278658)
    Rather than ship hybrid drives now with flash chips good for a few thousand cycles, why not wait until the end of this year and ship them with Intel PRAM or equivalent. PRAM is expected to be faster, non-volatile, and handle many times more R/W cycles. Or is the lifetime of the rest of the drive no longer than for the flash itself? This seems to be to be just a bit ahead of its time, and has the potential for either problems, or performance degradation, over a relatively short timespan.
  • by TheNetAvenger ( 624455 ) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @02:27PM (#18278840)
    I'm not sure what is more screwed up the article linked to about the drives or the Slashdot comment.

    ReadyDrive is NOT ReadyBoost, but it IS STILL a MS Technology and is designed to work directly with Vista. ista/features/details/performance.mspx []

    Also why does the linked article and Slashdot dismiss these drives as having nothing to do with Vista, when in fact they were DESIGNED Specifically to be used with Vista and employ MS Vista technology in the hardware?

    Is Slashdot trying to become the misinformation site of the Internet? ml [] s+Worlds+First+Hybrid+HDD151or+Is+It/202621_1.aspx []

    "Optimized to work in Windows Vista-capable notebook PCs, Samsung's MH80 is a 2.5-inch hybrid hard drive with 128 or 256MB of flash memory. It combines a hard disk drive with a OneNAND Flash cache and Microsoft's ReadyDrive software, offering faster boot and resume times, increased battery life and greater reliability compared to traditional magnetic media technology, the spokesperson claimed. "

    Sorry slashdot, but these drives are designed for Vista. Sure they may offer performance improvements in other OSes, but will see the majority of performance gains in Vista. Also even when used with other OSes, the way the Drives internally manage the Flash caching is from MS, so thank them the next time you boot your Linux laptop with one of these drives.

    As for the other questions people have about the limited write times of Flash RAM, etc, go lookup MS Superfetch technology which specifically addresses these issues by writing to various locations in the Flash space, since this this is also how these drives work to ensure the same bits don't always get used, giving the flash cache the equivalent or greater lifetime than the HD platters.

    I know this is SlashDot, but someone could get the fact right once, right?
  • Re:well (Score:3, Interesting)

    by itsdapead ( 734413 ) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @02:59PM (#18279242)

    AFAIK, at least I haven't seen working NTFS R/W on macos yet.
    macfuse [] claims to support ntfs-3g under OSX. Looks like you'll have to compile ntfs-3g from source though & mount from the command line - they've only got binaries and a GUI mounter for SSHFS at the moment