Why are hybrid drives suddenly not so popular?

Aug 2, 2022 Game controllers

Today, solid state drives are almost universally available, but a decade ago, they were not just big enough to install an operating system, and the high price of NAND FLASH meant that solid state drives were only a "supplement" for advanced gamers. But do you know, in order to bring users a better use experience with the lowest cost, traditional storage manufacturers have paid a lot of efforts, launched a lot of bright but quite a few products, such as the flash in the pan hybrid hard drive SSHD.

Solid-state drives can be simply described as a hybrid of NAND FLASH particles and mechanical hard drives. They look a bit like mechanical hard drives with a large cache, but they operate in a completely different way. The hard disk chip is DDR DRAM chip, the capacity from a few MB to hundreds of MB, mainly for the mechanical hard disk to provide data buffer role; The NAND FLASH particle capacity of hybrid hard disk is usually a few GB to dozens of GB, mainly to use its advantages of high speed access to improve the average access time of mechanical hard disk, and the main body of storage is still high capacity mechanical hard disk part. Somewhat similar to the "Ready Boost" mechanism in Windows Vista and Windows 7.

01 What are the advantages of Hybrid hard drives?
In principle, hybrid drives record the most frequently read and written data at a given moment and store it in the most responsive NAND FLASH, thus achieving performance comparable to solid-state drives. Although it sounds simple and straightforward, hybrid hard drives have their own set of mechanisms that work independently of the operating system. So solid state disk performance? It's no exaggeration to say that Word also has the opening speed of Notepad. When the system is hibernating, data in the memory can be written to the NAND FLASH. When the system is woken up, the system returns to the previous working state. However, the mechanical hard disk may still be powered on to read page files.

I once installed a 2.5-inch Western Digital hybrid hard drive into a Microsoft XBOX ONE X game console. The hard disk is part of the high-end "black disk" series, which uses a combination of 8GB NAND FLASH and 1TB 7200 RPM mechanical hard disk. In the Assassin's Creed Origins DLC Curse of the Pharaohs, after the main character Bayek jumps to his death from a statue of Ramses the Great several times, the game loads in seconds, comparable to a solid state drive.

Not only to achieve the performance and capacity "fish and bear's paw" have it all, mix hard disk will be frequently used data to NAND FLASH will make mechanical drive part after a halt "standby", stay will start only when there is new data to read and write, thus reducing the mechanical hard disk heads, frequency and the rotation of the disc, speaking, reading and writing time, improve performance at the same time also makes the service life is much higher, And reduced power consumption. Although hybrid hard drives are more expensive than mechanical hard drives, the terabyte solid state drives of ten years ago were extremely expensive, and were only used in data centers and other fields, so they were considered an important "milestone" on the road to SSD popularization.

02 Hybrid hard disk how become chicken ribs?
True hybrid drive has many advantages, but it may be said "into also principle and principle", once met a large amount of data continue to write, after running out of small capacity NAND FLASH capacity, weak mechanical hard disk read and write performance will betray oneself, especially some with a mixture of large capacity hard disk is 5400 RPM SMR "imbricated type" mechanical hard disk... You know. Therefore, the hybrid hard disk is not only not popular in the consumer field, but also failed to replace the traditional mechanical hard disk in the enterprise application field.

The last straw that broke the "camel" of hybrid hard disk is the continuously lower price and increasing capacity of solid state disk. Not only the mainstream m.2 NVMe PCIe3.0 1TB product has reached the price of 500 yuan, but the 128GB capacity of SATA solid state disk has fallen below the 100 yuan threshold, becoming the standard of modern installation. While the mechanical hard disk is into the NAS, monitoring and mobile hard disk "cold", so the situation of the mixed hard disk is more embarrassing, become a real ribs product, mainstream e-commerce platform is not sold, want to taste the new students can only go to the universal treasure.

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