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Samsung touts Flash-fitted hybrid hard disk

Coming in time for Windows Vista

High performance access to file storage

Samsung yesterday said it will ship its Flash-equipped hard disk drive in "large quantities" at the end of the year in time, it hopes, for the mass roll-out of Microsoft's Windows Vista. The announcement follows the latest demo of the company's prototype "Hybrid Hard Disk" (HHD) this week.

The HHDs on show at WinHEC have either 128MB or 256MB of on-board NAND Flash cache memory, depending on the model. Samsung didn't say how much Flash the commercially available versions will have, or what magnetic storage capacity they will offer.

The Flash itself has 108MBps read and 18MBps write speeds, Samsung said, connected to a 3Gbps SATA drive mechanism with native command queuing support. When the cache is filled, the contents are written to the drive. That, the company claimed, ensures the hard disk spins "only a few seconds every 10-20 minutes" which in turn "extends battery life by about 8-10 per cent".

Samsung also said the system shaves 8-25 seconds off a computer's start-up time. Presumably, boot-up data is retained in the Flash cache and not flushed to ensure users get this benefit every time they start up their machine.

PCs equipped with HHDs are "five times more reliable", Samsung asserted, though it didn't say how it had come to this conclusion.

The HHD ties in with Vista's ReadyDrive feature, Microsoft said, which is backing Samsung's HHD efforts. ®

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