CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Computer Accessories

New hybrid hard disk has 1GB of RAM and its own CPU

Despite the volatility of the RAM inside this new type of hybrid drive, the advantages sit inside a niche different to that in which 'traditional' hybrids sit.

A report on Ars Technica highlights DTS, a Japanese company that aims to create an efficient and affordable hybrid hard disk. Traditionally -- though the word is used lightly since this is all still recent technology -- hybrid hard disks consist of an ordinary platter-based hard disk combined with a module of NAND flash memory, similar to flash memory found in MP3 players.

This new effort is aimed at desktop computers, and is essentially an amalgam of a smaller laptop hard disk, and 1GB of ordinary DDR RAM like that found in all computers.

This is interesting for two reasons. Firstly, the 1GB of on-board memory significantly increases overall performance because it takes a massive strain off traditional disk drives, without significantly increasing cost; and secondly, because the processing power required to handle the operation of such a disk is provided by a dedicated CPU inside the drive itself.

There is however a third interesting point. DDR RAM is volatile memory, meaning, quite simply, when the power goes off, the data in the memory is lost. This eliminates any long-term storage of, for example, critical operating system components that are required during a system's initial boot -- one of the main reasons 'traditional' flash-based hybrid drives are so attractive.

Despite the volatility of the RAM inside this new type of hybrid drive, the advantages sit inside a niche different to that in which 'traditional' hybrids sit. Enthusiasts and system performance-geeks will appreciate the extensive usefulness of having a hard drive fitted with a dedicated gigabyte of RAM, especially as existing disks include an on-board cache measured in megabytes of double figures.

'Traditional' and 'RAM-based' hybrid disks sit in separate niches, so neither has to eat into the other's territory, and a true enthusiast or system professional will appreciate that these disks could exist together in a single system to create a truly tripped-out hybrid-fuelled machine.