Hard disk drives have been around for a long time now and they have the benefit of being able to hold a vast amount of data; they only continue to get larger in size. Additionally, they are becoming increasingly cheaper to produce and keep getting cheaper. You can pick up a decent 1TB hard drive for around $55/£50 and that’s certainly nothing to be sniffed at!
A newer technology is the solid state drive which, although capable of holding the same amount of data, will severely dent your wallet in the process. For a similar price of a 1TB hard drive, you could get a 120GB SSD drive. That’s just over a tenth of the space for around the same cost. Why would anyone want a SSD then? The reason is that they’re faster, more efficient and less prone to error than a HDD. The latter is a mechanical device, with moving components inside, while an SSD is more like a memory stick and won’t be damaged by anything like a sudden jolt.
Some users make use of both types of drive in their systems, perhaps putting the operating system on an SSD to ensure fast load up, while storing their personal data on a HDD to have the available capacity.
Western Digital has recently announced a hybrid 2.5-inch drive, combining a 120GB SSD with a 1TB HDD, offering the benefits of both through a single device. The WD Black 2 Dual Drive is, according to the company, 17 times faster than a standard HDD and costs three times less per GB than an SSD.
The company currently have a solid state hybrid drive on the market, sold only to computer manufacturers, but this just offers a small amount of SSD storage with the traditional mechanical drive. The SSD storage in this older drive was just used for cache, to make often used data like the operation system and programs load up quicker. Now, with the Black 2 Dual Drive, users can store whatever they want on either drive and it’s available to the average consumer to buy separately.
Western Digital said that they have no plans to discontinue the older drive.
Since the Black 2 Dual Drive allows users to store anything they want on either drive, it means that the hard drive could be purely used for data archiving, while the SSD for daily programs and files.
When connecting the drive through the cable and into a 9.5mm slot, the device will appear as two separate storage units on the computer. There is no ability to combine them into one, larger storage holding.
The drive is currently a Windows-only device and will work from Windows XP and above. There’s no word on any future Apple support, but it’s probably likely.
Computerworld performed benchmarking tests on the drive and found that it had maximum write times of 147MB/sec and maximum read times (4K blocks) of 269MB/sec, which are less than satisfactory when compared to other SSDs on the market.
Those wanting the drive will be able to buy it soon for a cool $299/£250.
Western Digital Introduce a Single HDD and SSD Hybrid Drive
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