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Samsung's Hybrid Hard Drive Exposed 255

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the under-the-hood dept.
Erica Campbell writes "Samsung is preparing to release a new Flash memory-assisted computer hard drive that boasts improved performance, reduced energy consumption, a faster boot time, and better reliability. The new hybrid hard drive will be released around the same time as the upcoming Windows Vista operating system and will be one of the first hardware designed specifically to benefit from it."
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Samsung's Hybrid Hard Drive Exposed

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  • Ship time (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 19, 2006 @09:13PM (#16511715)
    That hard drive may ship out the door on the shelves before Vista...
  • So awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Warbringer87 (969664) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @09:16PM (#16511729)
    that buffer is fucking huge. Laptops awesome, wonder when they'll actually work on a regular size one though. Then again, seeing as it's gonna be the first batch out the door, potential issues from what is practically a new drive type will scare me, and my wallet away.
  • Re:Ship time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by VitrosChemistryAnaly (616952) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @09:34PM (#16511883) Journal
    Wonderful idea for the manufacturers, flash drives only get so many [wikipedia.org] read/write cycles before they go T.U. Not so good for the consumers.
    What would be neat is if you could swap out flash drives in the event of a failure. Or upgrade the flash drive capacity. I'd be more interested in that than a permanently integrated flash drive. You're correct to be skeptical of its lifespan.
  • Re:Linux Next? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 19, 2006 @09:35PM (#16511889)
    A week after they hit the market?
  • Re:Ship time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eebra82 (907996) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @09:35PM (#16511903) Homepage
    You're mentioning aged technology. Flash mems have improved since then, plus, it's slightly different technology.

    Additionally, do you honestly think any company (Intel, Microsoft, Samsung) would back this technology if it was limited to R/W cycles in thousands?

    Last but not least, such hard drives will also store data which stays more consistent than regular data. It could store vital boot files, files to your most common applications, etcetera. In other words, files that do not change much over time. It's not like you're going to save your most frequently used documents to this section of the drive.

    So to sum things up, you will not have to worry about the SSD part of the drive. It will probably even outlast the mechanical part of the drive.
  • by kingkade (584184) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @09:46PM (#16511999)
    Flash technology seems promising and looks poised to take over devices that would be better off using solid state components (laptops, etc) that traditionally don't. I've wanted to invest in Samsung and flash technology in general. Samsung seems to only be on the Asian markets, is this so? Does anyone know of and good mutual funds/ETFs that allows one to invest in this specific tech sector?
  • by Soulfarmer (607565) * on Thursday October 19, 2006 @09:50PM (#16512029) Homepage Journal
    SuperFetch understands which applications you use most, and preloads these applications into memory, so your system is more responsive

    I for one would rather have my ram uncluttered than any of my applications preloaded. I usually have enough time to wait if it means my ram will be empty of those preloads. This new HHD tho might help in that its flash would store these preloads instead of ram.

    I hope, in case I am ever in need of Vista, that SuperFetch is optional and adjustable.
  • Flash (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 19, 2006 @09:53PM (#16512063)
    What happens when the flash dies?
  • by realmolo (574068) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @09:57PM (#16512091)
    Why would you want your RAM to be unused? Unused RAM is useless RAM. Seriously.

    I'm sure that Vista is smart enough to free up the RAM that SuperFetch is using if it could be better used for something else. It's really nothing more than a more pro-active version of the disc-cacheing that every operating system already uses.

  • Re:Linux Next? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dotgain (630123) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @10:30PM (#16512339) Homepage Journal
    Ha! That's for the 0.85-alpha82-pre1 version!

    Open source coders are good, but they're not Godlike. If the specs aren't open they get practically nowhere sometimes, and if they are - they'll still take as long to iron out the bugs and get it stable than anybody else.

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @10:39PM (#16512411) Homepage Journal
    That article mentions power savings a lot, but never boils them down to raw consumption numbers.

    If a standard current notebook 40GB HD were replaced with 10 standard 4GB Flash drives, how much less power would the Flash consume than the HD?
  • Re:Ship time (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dave562 (969951) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @11:04PM (#16512541) Journal
    It could store vital boot files, files to your most common applications, etcetera. In other words, files that do not change much over time.

    I would imagine that all of the boot files plus commonly used .dll files would get stored to the flash section. Then when the system shuts down, it would write the page file to the flash in addition to all of persistent application data necessary to quickly boot the hibernated session.

  • Re:Ship time (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 19, 2006 @11:45PM (#16512767)
    (better than with it, and it saves space to not have it)

    People STILL worrying about drive space? I've got an external 1/2 terabyte firewire drive i bought for 200 bucks that I still haven't filled with porn yet.

  • by soupforare (542403) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @11:56PM (#16512835)
    Just because flash doesn't move doesn't mean flash doesn't fail.
  • by wwahammy (765566) on Friday October 20, 2006 @12:06AM (#16512879)
    Actually flash is used significantly more than that. The cache will actually store writes and once the flash starts to get close to full, it actually writes the cached writes to disk. While I'm sure Samsung and Microsoft have worked hard to extend the life of the flash, with that many cache I don't see how the cache could last even close to as long as the drive. My understanding is that flash is reliable up to about 100K writes compared to millions of writes to a disk drive. I still haven't heard how the drive runs once the flash becomes unreliable. Does it run like a regular drive or does it fail?
  • by Dun Malg (230075) on Friday October 20, 2006 @01:04AM (#16513169) Homepage
    We wrote a driver to read and write fat 16 flash drives for an embeded system. The testing for it wrote and read full speed 24/7 for two weeks before they died. I assumed that was because of the limited read write settings. Or is it possible the low quality connection was to blame?
    Since not even you seem to have any specs on the flash drives you were using, what sort of answer are you expecting? Maybe the drives were new but used old memory. Maybe the internal voltage regulators that drop it from 5v to 3.3v were crappy. With no more info than "they were flash drives" and the post-mortem consisting of "they died", any conclusion would be idle speculation.
  • Re:Ship time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tim C (15259) on Friday October 20, 2006 @01:35AM (#16513315)
    Heck, MS says XP is "more secure". More secure than what?

    Than previous editions of Windows, of course, and they're right.

    I just had to clean my wife's laptop that is SP2 and fully patched with MS Windows Defender, MS Windows firewall and AVG anti virus and the thing has spyware crap on it that was bringing it to its knees.

    And are Defender and AVG kept up to date? Is she running as an admin and installing any old crap she comes across? Is the firewall actually running?

    A single anecdote proves nothing; I can attest to three XP machines that I personally use that are perfectly clean and have been for serveral years. Before blaming the OS, I'd check with your wife about how she was actually using the machine.

    Yes, I do think any one of those companies would back any technology if that technology would make them a profit.

    I can see that from Samsung, but neither Intel nor MS are going to be producing or selling these things, nor any hardware or software that relies on them. They're not going to stand to make any money on them, but will take a knock to their reputations if they back them and they're crap. Perhaps MS won't care, but Intel has serious competition from AMD, and can't be quite that cavalier.
  • Re:Linux Next? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bizzeh (851225) on Friday October 20, 2006 @03:16AM (#16513723) Homepage
    most usb flash drives only write around 17mb/s, how is that faster than sata2 drive doing nearly 100mb/s?
  • by ichigo 2.0 (900288) on Friday October 20, 2006 @03:18AM (#16513731)
    I decided to dig up a source for my claim and failed to produce one. Additionally, I found a source [windowsitpro.com] that makes it seem like SuperFetch does in fact swap cached data to the page file. Looks like me giving Microsoft the benefit of doubt has backfired, as I'm now looking forward to SuperFetch a lot less. I apologize for bashing you, I was the one being silly here.
  • by pdbaby (609052) on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:13AM (#16513969)
    ...I had an uptime ... with Windows XP.... 280 days.
    That kind of uptime with Windows XP means you missed a significant amount of critical vulnerability patches! :-)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 20, 2006 @07:45AM (#16514923)
    people who use their computers a lot will have data corruption earlier... all due to flash problems

    The flash section of the drive works more like a cache... it duplicates 'urgent' data that is stored on the main disk, and only when there is a efficiency gain from doing that. If the flash eventually fails then the pc will just get the data from the disk. Even if the flash fails over 4 or 5 years, the drive will still work, and it's still worth the premium IMO.

That does not compute.

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