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Monday, April 25, 2005
Hard drive gets all flashy

A hybrid memory system, combining a hard drive and flash memory, has been demonstrated by Samsung and Microsoft.

The aim is to combine the fast read/write access times of NAND flash with the storage capacity of a rotating hard drive. By using the 1Gbit flash as a cache for the hard drive, the drive does not need to spin continuously. When the write buffer is full, the drive is spun up and data written to magnetic storage.

Boot up times can also be reduced, claimed the firms, by using the flash as a boot buffer during shut-down. Microsoft calls the device a hybrid hard drive (HHD). It is designed to work with Longhorn, the next generation of Windows.

"Hybrid drive architecture... is an advancement that will improve the performance and reliability of any computer using the Windows Longhorn operating system," said Tom Phillips, general manager of Microsoft's Windows group.

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