Hybrid disk drives solve notebook woes

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 October, 2007, 12:00am

Poor battery performance, slow response and lengthy boot-up times have been the bane of many laptop owners' lives for years.

But this looks set to change with the introduction of 'hybrid' hard drives that will bring a host of benefits to mobile computer users.

Unlike traditional hard drives that are constantly spinning when a computer is in use, hybrid drives employ a buffer system that uses about 1 gigabyte of flash memory. By using the flash memory as a primary source of storage, the hard drive remains at rest most of the time. This results in decreased power consumption, improved reliability, improved performance, lower noise levels and faster boot times.

At the forefront of introducing this new technology is Seagate, and the company's new Momentus 5400 PSD hard drive will 'end the perennial trade-off for notebook PC makers'.

Tom Major, Seagate vice-president, personal computer business, said: 'With instant access to content an increasingly essential part of the digital lifestyle, laptop users expect systems with a snappy response, longer battery life and new levels of durability. [We] are delivering in volume the best of two worlds - hard disk drives and flash memory - to enable laptop PCs with cutting-edge capabilities and to tighten the connection between users and their information.'

Hybrid drives are designed to take full advantage of the Windows Vista operating system which delivers native support for the new technology.

Dennis Moulton, product manager of Windows Client marketing at Microsoft, said: 'It is this type of innovation ... that helps raise the bar, and we're excited about the productivity gains this helps bring to our customers in combination with Windows Vista.'

On the desktop front, Seagate's Barracuda 7200.11 hard drive offers the highest sustained transfer rate of 105 megabits per second, along with a low power rating that allows cooler operation and therefore increased reliability.

Along with speed and performance, software dedicated to the protection of data in the event of a fatal crash or virus attack has also taken giant strides forwards.

Seagate's Maxtor OneTouch 4 Mini, the 'next generation of computer protection' is a software solution designed to make 'data protection and security effortless ... with easy-to-use software tools that make a once complex task simple'.