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    Combining HDD and Flash in Computers Cures Many Issues

    SDDs have tried to displace HDDs in computers for a few years but the higher cost of flash memory has been a major barrier to wide-spread adoption.  Lower flash memory prices will help adoption but HDDs decrease in $/GB at about the same rate as SSDs so the relative ratio of prices doesn’t improve much in SSDs’ favor.  At the same time there are serious issues in performance for many computers with HDDs, associated with the slower access time of HDDs. 

    There have attempts to combine the advantages of HDDs and flasy memory in the past such as Intel’s Turbo Memory and the hybrid hard disk alliance but these were mostly  dependent upon the operating system to provide performance advantages.  The latest initiatives to combine flash memory and hard disk drives to create tiered storage systems in computers are known as Blink Boot, hyperHDD and the solid state hybrid hard drive.

    Most of these approaches (hyperHDD and solid state hybrid hard drive) don’t depend upon the operating system to manage the use of the flash memory and the HDDs.  In the case of the recent solid state hybrid hard drive from Seagate the 4 GB of  flash memory  on the PCB board of the hard drive is used to store the most recently accessed data that the computer is using.  This is done internally by the hard drive providing a boost in access speed for this content without any special requirements on the computer operating system.

    By adding a little flash memory to a hard disk drive for frequently accessed data or even for OS and application booting while still keeping the HDD for inexpensive mass storage makes a lot of sense.  Computer storage tiering with flash memory and HDDs could finally help flash memory become mainstream in computers.

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