LAS VEGAS--As a fan of internal storage drives, I was like a boy in a candy store meeting up with Western Digital at CES 2013.
The major storage vendor for the first time showed off its very first solid-state hybrid hard drive, the WD Black SSHD. This is the final working product that's being sampled to OEM manufacturers. And it's WD's answer to Seagate's hybrid drives, not only the existing Momentus XT, but also the prototypes it showcased at CES 2013.
SSHD is the new name, used across the industry, for a hybrid drive that uses both platter-based storage and solid-state storage in one standard form.
The WD Black SSHD comes in two versions. The first is a regular 2.5-inch standard that's 7 millimeters thick so as to fit into almost all computer systems, from ultrabooks to desktop computers. The drive uses the standard SATA connector and supports SATA 3, though it will also work with old SATA standards. The drive offers up to 1TB of storage space.
The other also takes the 2.5-inch standard but is only 5mm thick and comes with a new type of connector, designed only for certain ultrathin ultrabooks. It offers only 500GB.
Both versions of the WD Black SSHD come with somewhere between 16GB and 24GB of solid-state memory, which will host frequently accessed data, such as the operating system and programs, leaving the more static data on the regular hard-drive part. This allows for SSD-like performance, especially when it comes to boot time and application launching, while keeping the drive's price within affordable range.
WD hasn't given details on the exact date that the WD Black SSHD will become available for purchase, but according to Heather Skinner, WD's senior PR manager, the drive "will be available this year and will be very affordable."
Make sure to check back at CNET for more details about the new drive and how it performs.