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Samsung's Hybrid Hard Drive Exposed


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Samsung is preparing to release a new Flash memory-assisted computer hard drive that boasts improved performance, reduced energy consumption, a faster boot time, and better reliability. The new hybrid hard drive will be released around the same time as the upcoming Windows Vista operating system and will be one of the first hardware designed specifically to benefit from it.

Samsung-HHD-on-laptop-small.jpg

In mid-May 2006, Samsung unveiled a prototype hybrid hard drive (HHD) at WinHEC, the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference. Samsung's prototype HHDs have a buffer of 128 or 256 MB, much larger than the 8-16 MB of cache in current hard drives. This new buffer differs from the existing cache buffer on hard drives not only in size but also in structure, composition, and qualities. Conventional cache is made out of volatile memory that is erased when the drive is powered down.  HHDs add another layer of cache consisting of Flash memory that is non-volatile and can be accessed quickly when the drive is powered on. Adding a large buffer to a hard drive can also reduce the drive's power consumption, thereby increasing the battery life, and reducing the time required for the system to resume its operation after suspension. Indeed, boot or resume time will occur about twice as fast as conventional hard disk drives, saving 8-25 seconds, and laptop batteries will provide 20

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Shiny! (w00t)

 

Thanks for sharing.

Murphy's Law of Computer Gaming: The listed minimum specifications written on the box by the publisher are not the minimum specifications of the game set by the developer.

 

@\NightandtheShape/@ - "Because you're a bizzare strange deranged human?"

Walsingham- "Sand - always rushing around, stirring up apathy."

Joseph Bulock - "Another headache, courtesy of Sand"

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Just reading the current PC Format (December) and it seems the Windows Vista technologies (Windows ReadyDrive: hard disks boot up faster, resume from hibernate in less time, preserve battery power, and improve hard disk reliability) will be a feature of new motherboards ... so not an external (Universal Serial) Bus device.

 

Data is written to a 128 or 256 MB Flash memory cache inside the HHD, which greatly reduces the time that the mechanical hard disk needs to be spinning - saving considerable battery power. The hybrid disk helps Windows Vista resume faster from a sleep state because data can be restored from Flash memory cache faster than from the mechanical hard disk. Since more data is written to the integrated Flash memory than to the traditional hard disk, users have much less risk of problems with the hard disk when they're on the move.

 

This, plus the missing supporting features for Core 2 Duo, and the imminent arrival of DX10 make me think that I shall wait for a bit before making my new PC.

 

There is a great article on the new technology in DirectX 10, too: unified shader architecture:

  • vertex (integer) shaders get overworked outside doing trees and distances,
     
  • pixel (floating point) shaders get overworked inside, doing oily / transparent surfaces, and the other types of shaders are idle; plus
     
  • SM3 (floating point) fog effects.

Added to this is (geometric) SM4 (little triangles, rather than just the intersection of two lines, like vertex shading).

 

DirectX9.L will allow DirectX10 cards to run previous DirectX9 effects (and not vice versa), because DirectX10 is a complete re-write of the specification (not done since the invention of DirectX back in Windows95).

 

Though the next DirectX cards (due out early next year) will be long superceded before DirectX10 games become common, ATi's R600 looks to be a much better interpretation of the standard than nVidia's ... so I might just see what I can build for

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hehe, yet another layer of cache. i wonder if the cache management is automatic and how well does it deal with a miss? at the processor level, cache management still requires a bit of code to utilize properly (called prefetching). i'd assume going to a hard drive this is not the case, however.

 

taks

comrade taks... just because.

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AFAIK (which isn't much), the cahce will just store what it needs as part of the standard hibernate process (for example), so I expect that this process is fairly mature (i.e. they probably store more than absolutely necessary to avoid mis-cacheing).

 

As for normal activity, it will probably work in conjunction with the SATA-2 interface (multiple writes queuing for a batch).

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