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Toshiba introduces hybrid hard disks

Tom Morgan
25 Sep 2012
Toshiba hybrid hard disk
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NAND flash cache speeds up boot times and file transfers

Toshiba is the latest hard disk manufacturer to announce that it will begin producing hybrid disks, combining traditional mechanical platters with NAND flash storage. The NQ01ABD-H series of 2.5in disks will launch in 750GB and 1TB capacities, with 8GB of flash storage for SSD-like boot times and performance.

The twin-platter, 5,400 RPM disks support the SATA3 6Gb/s interface and will ship with 32MiB of cache, as well as the aforementioned 8GB of dedicated NAND storage. Toshiba’s self-learning algorithms let the disk adapt depending on the user, only storing the most frequently-used data to make it quickly accessible. Data that then gets used less frequently will be moved from the flash to the hard disk for long term storage.

“By combining high performance NAND flash technology with HDD high capacities, consumers can now enjoy the best of both worlds,” Toshiba’s European vice president Martin Larsson explained. “Toshiba’s years of experience and innovation in the storage industry means it’s in a unique position to capitalize on these benefits.”

With Ultrabook manufacturers opting for hybrid hard disks for their mid-range models rather than expensive SSDs, demand has grown substantially in the few years since they were first introduced. Toshiba will be the first company to produce a hybrid hard disk that both designs and develops its own HDD and NAND flash technology, rather than purchase it from a third party. However, at 9.5mm thick, the MQ01ABD-H series disks may be too large for some of the smaller Ultrabook designs currently in production.

We've been told sample units will begin shipping as early as next week, but with no fixed price or confirmed retail date expect to be waiting until mid-October to be able to pick one up.

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