Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Hybrid Drives

This Wikipedia article describes a new type of hard drive with a large, non-volatile memory.

It is different from standard hard drives in that it employs a large buffer (up to 1 GB) of non-volatile flash memory to cache data during normal use. By primarily using this large buffer for non-volatile data storage, the platters of the hard drive are at rest almost all of the time, instead of constantly spinning as they are in current hard drives. This offers numerous benefits, chief among them decreased power consumption, improved reliability, and a faster boot process.

Maybe we'll also get continuous-save applications across the board. If my laptop's hard disk has finally spun down, and I'm typing a document, I currently think twice about saving the document every few moments, because I don't want the hard disk to spin up again. With a hybrid drive, the software should always automatically be saving everything continuously anyway. Maybe we'll all get a SwyftCard soon....


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