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Hybrid Drive vs. Solid State Drive

Hard disk drives used to dominate the computer storage market, but now there are a lot of different options available for your data holding needs. Two of these are hybrid drives and solid state drives. Both come with their own pros and cons. Hybrid drives combines hard disk and solid state into one, while SSDs are pure flash memory. Which one is the best for your needs?
A solid state drive uses a memory chip and works similar to a USB stick. The same storage method is used in the hybrid drive, but in a SSD there are no moving parts at all. Instead of having to wait for the platters to spin up in order to access data, everything is available instantly. This also means that there is a reduced chance of failure. One of the common problems with a mechanical drive is that the delicate platters can get damaged and cause severe data loss. This can be caused by something as simple as strong vibrations going through the drive. Modern drives have better protection against this, but it remains a problem.

Another advantage of SSDs is that it uses less battery, offering more than 30 minutes boost, which is great if you are on a laptop.

However, it isn’t all rosy with SSDs. The biggest problem at the moment is that they are just too expensive for the average consumer. Also, they only offer limited amounts of storage. For storing a vast amount of data then another storage option needs to be considered.

This is where hybrid drives could come in. A hybrid drive offers the speeds that the flash memory of a SSD offers, yet still offering high capacity storage at a fairly low price. The drive is split into two, part flash memory, part hard disk drive, but the operating system views it as a single device. The SSD side of it acts as a large cache, but it won’t vanish when the drive is shut down because it is non-volatile.

Algorithms are employed which track the files that are used most often (like the operating system and program files) and then stores them on the SSD side in order to increase access times.

Like a SSD, a hybrid drive gives you quick boot up times and reduced power consumption (although the SSD is better at this since there are no moving parts). The hybrid drive is a good alternative to a SSD since it offers the caching while still maintaining a good price point.

If you are looking to capture some of the speeds of flash memory while not blowing your wallet, then a hybrid drive may be the best bet for you. The combination of flash and hard disk storage means that you can still hold huge amounts of data. However, solid state drives are slowly dropping in price and you may want fast access to all of your data rather than the most used. The choice you make depends on how you access your data and your budget available.


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