Hardware / Storage Devices
Hybrid hard drives finally ship
SEAGATE HAS FINALLY started shipping hybrid hard disk drives, but enthusiasts hoping to see a big performance kick should be warned - they won't get it.
It's taken an age to move the concept of thumb-drive-on-a-hard-drive past the point of good idea through to good product. After all, we were hearing about these drives well before Vista wiggled its way onto our desktops.
In fact, Vista was the whole point - by including up to 1GB of flash memory on a hard drive, Vista could use the drive for ReadyBoost functions and cache itself like crazy, improving performance and battery life. The concept was designed to mix the best of solid state drives - fast access, lower power - with magnetic drives - big capacities, cheap prices.
The new Momentus models are laptop drives at 2.5", and come in capacities of 80, 120 and 160GB with 256MB of flash. The extra 256MB on-board will mean a price premium of around 25%, Seagate has said.
But the performance will likely not be there to justify it. Seagate claims the average boot time is cut from 40 to 32 seconds, whilst the average power consumption will be cut from 0.78W to 0.45W. But that's pretty much all the improvement you're going to see - early Vista drivers and a lack of BIOS support mean that everyday use is not going to be speeded up.
Seagate claims that its second-gen technology will solve this problem and deliver some hardcore performance boosts to satisfy power-hounds. But if that's the case, there doesn't seem much reason to get excited about the current round.