Samsung ready with hybrid hard drive

It's almost too bad: If my IT department buys hybrid hard drives, I won't have time every morning to get a cup of coffee and disparage the beloved New York Knicks of News.com's Charlie Cooper while my PC boots.

Samsung is shipping three MH80 hybrid hard drives--a combination of a traditional hard drive and flash memory--to PC makers, it announced Wednesday. The drives, in 80GB, 100GB, and 120GB sizes, will help PCs boot in half the time it usually takes, according to Samsung.

Because the drives use either 128MB or 256MB of flash memory, they also consume less power than ordinary hard drives and should be more reliable over time. Samsung expects notebook makers to use the drives to help extend battery life, since the notebook won't have to spin the hard drive if operating idly in battery mode.

Some in the storage industry think flash memory is the wave of the future, although it's a little too expensive in the quantities needed for PCs at the moment. Hybrid drives and technologies like Intel's Robson are expected to get the ball rolling, but some notebook makers might experiment with all-flash notebooks this year.

Samsung will make the drives available in retail stores fairly soon. Rival Seagate Technology is also working on hybrid hard drives.

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