Hard Drive of the Future – Samsung and Microsoft Have Plans
Recently we featured a story (see: Solid State Disk (SSD) to Replace Your Hard Drive ) about 16GB NAND flash-based hard drives that have been created by Samung. These drives promise to use only 5% of the power needed by today’s conventional hard drives and offer speedy boot times for Tablet PC’s and noebook computers. We have done some more digging and as it turns out, the “SSD” may very well not be the only new hard drive technology to come down the pike as the “HHD” or Hybrid Hard Drive is most likely to makes its debut with the release of Microsofts long-awaited Long Horn Operating System.
Samsung Teams with Microsoft to Develop First Hybrid Hard Drive with NAND Flash Memory
Seattle, WA — April 25, 2005: Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced that its OneNAND Flash memory has been incorporated into the design of Microsoft Corp.’s prototype Hybrid Hard Drive (HHD), the first fully functional disk drive to combine NAND-based Flash with rotating storage media. The hybrid drive, designed to work with the next version of the Windows operating system, code-named “Longhorn,” is being exhibited for the first time at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) in Seattle at the Washington State Convention Center from April 25 to April 27.
Instead of replacing the HDD, the hybrid hard drive architecture incorporates a small OneNAND device from Samsung that works within the hard disk’s architecture. The hybrid device promises to leverage the benefits of magnetic storage and solid state storage without compromising the cost of the computer housing it. The ultra-high-density benefits of magnetic storage technology are preserved, while the ultra-low-power, ultra-high-reliability and fast read/write access of advanced NAND technology such as OneNAND enhances the overall value of the hybrid drive at little or no additional cost.
Since late 2003, Microsoft has been working closely with Samsung to develop the next generation of ultra-low-power disk drives for notebook computers. The hybrid hard drive will eliminate costly inefficiencies caused by the need for the hard disk drive to continue to spin whenever the computer is on. Additionally, the hybrid drive design also can provide significantly faster boot times when a computer running “Longhorn” computer starts up.
“Hybrid drive architecture is extremely important to the future design of mobile computers. It is an advancement that will improve the performance and reliability of any computer using the Windows “Longhorn” operating system. We are delighted with the performance in our initial testing of the Samsung hybrid hard drive prototype,” said Tom Phillips, General Manager of Windows Hardware Experience Group for Microsoft. “This is another example of where Microsoft is working with the industry to dramatically improve the overall Windows computing experience for our customers.”
The hybrid hard drive prototype uses 1 Gigabit OneNAND Flash as both the write buffer and boot buffer. In the hybrid write mode, the mechanical drive is spun down for the majority of the time, while data is written to the Flash write buffer. When the write buffer is filled, the rotating drive spins and the data from the write buffer is written to the hard drive.
The hybrid drive saves power by keeping the spindle motor in idle mode almost all the time, while the operating system writes to the OneNAND write buffer. Moreover, by using OneNAND Flash with hard disk drive technology, disk drive performance…