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Samsung's Hybrid Hard Drive Exposed

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the under-the-hood dept.

255

Erica Campbell writes "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."

cancel ×

255 comments

Ship time (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16511715)

That hard drive may ship out the door on the shelves before Vista...

Re:Ship time (5, Informative)

Teresita (982888) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511749)

Wonderful idea for the manufacturers, flash drives only get so many [wikipedia.org] read/write cycles before they go T.U. Not so good for the consumers.

Re:Ship time (2, Interesting)

Who235 (959706) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511807)

Excellent point. TFA has been Slashdotted so I can't see the specs without an undue amount of initiative on my part, but presumably if they put enough flash memory in, and used a proper distributive algorithm to make sure the same sectors aren't constantly written to - there might be little danger of this drive failing any sooner than a conventional drive.

I hope.

Re:Ship time (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16511879)

"Excellent point."

No, it isn't.

Re:Ship time (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16512591)

Hey there, you idiot fuckfaced shitheaded teabagging worthless cocksucker moderator. Perhaps you missed the post that read...

> The number of read/write cycles is now typically sufficient to write at full speed 24/7 for 3-4 years.

Get that, cockbag? There's a lesson there. JUST BECAUSE YOU DON'T FUCKING UNDERSTAND IT DOESN'T MAKE IT A GODDAMNED TROLL!!

Let that sink in for a minute, you factually challenged asscock.

Fuck you and your dead mother,

sincerely,
Dickie Hateface

Re:Ship time (5, Informative)

Surt (22457) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511845)

The number of read/write cycles is now typically sufficient to write at full speed 24/7 for 3-4 years.

Re:Ship time (1)

dotgain (630123) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512307)

Exactly - I can't believe how long the "limited r/w cycles" arguments have persisted in spite of this issue being worked around years ago.

Has it changed in 3 years? (4, Interesting)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512749)

We wrote a driver to read and write fat 16 flash drives for an embeded system. The testing for it wrote and read full speed 24/7 for two weeks before they died. I assumed that was because of the limited read write settings. Or is it possible the low quality connection was to blame? Doesn't really matter they were only used to transfer settings. As any one whos had to support them knows, they often just die for no apparent reason. I'm not convinced that this is a system I'd want my data on.

Re:Ship time (4, Insightful)

VitrosChemistryAnaly (616952) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511883)

Wonderful idea for the manufacturers, flash drives only get so many [wikipedia.org] read/write cycles before they go T.U. Not so good for the consumers.
What would be neat is if you could swap out flash drives in the event of a failure. Or upgrade the flash drive capacity. I'd be more interested in that than a permanently integrated flash drive. You're correct to be skeptical of its lifespan.

Re:Ship time (4, Informative)

Phroggy (441) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512803)

What would be neat is if you could swap out flash drives in the event of a failure. Or upgrade the flash drive capacity. I'd be more interested in that than a permanently integrated flash drive. You're correct to be skeptical of its lifespan.

Well then, good news for you: Vista supports a feature called ReadyBoost [microsoft.com] , which can use just about any flash memory device (e.g. a cheap USB thumb drive) as a cache to improve performance.

Re:Ship time (4, Insightful)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511903)

You're mentioning aged technology. Flash mems have improved since then, plus, it's slightly different technology.

Additionally, do you honestly think any company (Intel, Microsoft, Samsung) would back this technology if it was limited to R/W cycles in thousands?

Last but not least, such hard drives will also store data which stays more consistent than regular data. It could store vital boot files, files to your most common applications, etcetera. In other words, files that do not change much over time. It's not like you're going to save your most frequently used documents to this section of the drive.

So to sum things up, you will not have to worry about the SSD part of the drive. It will probably even outlast the mechanical part of the drive.

Re:Ship time (0)

JimDaGeek (983925) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512289)

do you honestly think any company (Intel, Microsoft, Samsung) would back this technology if it was limited to R/W cycles in thousands?

Huh? Do you think the companies you listed only back "good" technology? I have bought plenty of junk from MS. I remember buying Windows ME that MS claimed was "state of the art" and "more secure and stable". Heck, MS says XP is "more secure". More secure than what? I just had to clean my wife's laptop that is SP2 and fully patched with MS Windows Defender, MS Windows firewall and AVG anti virus and the thing has spyware crap on it that was bringing it to its knees. All the others computers on my network are Mac OS X and Linux based and had no problems. I only noticed because I used the laptop and noticed how slow the network was from only the laptop.

As for Intel, they don't exactly back only "good" technology. I have an early P4 with an Intel 845G chipset that is total junk.

So to answer your question of "do you honestly think any company (Intel, Microsoft, Samsung) would back this technology if it was limited to R/W cycles in thousands?". Yes, I do think any one of those companies would back any technology if that technology would make them a profit. MS and Intel are not in the customer-making business, they are in the money-making business. They will do what they can to make money, customers are only an after thought.

Re:Ship time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16512345)

"So to answer your question of "do you honestly think any company (Intel, Microsoft, Samsung) would back this technology if it was limited to R/W cycles in thousands?". Yes, I do think any one of those companies would back any technology if that technology would make them a profit. MS and Intel are not in the customer-making business, they are in the money-making business. They will do what they can to make money, customers are only an after thought."

And it's obvious that you haven't paid any attention to Microsoft's hardware division as of yet.

PS: Unrelated, but your wife needs to stop installing malware onto her system.

Re:Ship time (1)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512857)

Yes, Windows Me sucked, we all know that. XP is more secure than its predecessors. Sure, there's a shitload of malicious software for Windows, but Microsoft never stated XP would be completely safe, just SAFER. And yes, some Intel chipsets have not been perfectly good.

Intel and Microsoft are obviously trying to make as big profit as possible, but that doesn't mean they're idiots. Yes, Windows Me sucked, but it was not developed to provide excellent stability and security. It was well known that as long as it's built on the Win95 kernel, it's going to suck about as bad. And as for crappy Intel chipsets, these were unintended errors. There's a HUGE difference between saying that it's ok to release hardware with life expectancy of a couple of months and to release hardware that f*cks up because the techies did something wrong. One is accidental and one would not be.

My point is that Microsoft and Intel would NEVER intentionally release a product which would fail too early. And in this case, we're talking about a known problem which has already been resolved and thought of, which kind of strengthens my point.

Btw, it's no shocker that you've experienced difficulties with malfunctioning hardware and software. Welcome to the real world, buddy. But just because a company fails to deliver a proper product doesn't mean it's not serious about what it does.

Re:Ship time (2, Insightful)

dave562 (969951) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512541)

It could store vital boot files, files to your most common applications, etcetera. In other words, files that do not change much over time.

I would imagine that all of the boot files plus commonly used .dll files would get stored to the flash section. Then when the system shuts down, it would write the page file to the flash in addition to all of persistent application data necessary to quickly boot the hibernated session.

Re:Ship time (1)

Tatsh (893946) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512643)

People STILL use paging files? If you got 1GB of RAM or more, the pagefile becomes completely unnecessary unless maybe if you run a lot of stuff, but I do and my computer seems perfect without it (better than with it, and it saves space to not have it).

Re:Ship time (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16512767)

(better than with it, and it saves space to not have it)

People STILL worrying about drive space? I've got an external 1/2 terabyte firewire drive i bought for 200 bucks that I still haven't filled with porn yet.

Re:Ship time (1)

LastExyle (1011977) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512587)

Read/Write limitations on flash memory are so high these days, they generally last as long as a regular hard drive does before it breaks.

ooo (-1, Troll)

Fayn (1003629) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511725)

Yummy!

So awesome (5, Insightful)

Warbringer87 (969664) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511729)

that buffer is fucking huge. Laptops awesome, wonder when they'll actually work on a regular size one though. Then again, seeing as it's gonna be the first batch out the door, potential issues from what is practically a new drive type will scare me, and my wallet away.

The Slashdotted Article (0, Redundant)

SoloFlyer2 (872483) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511891)

Samsung's Hybrid Hard Drive Exposed
    Written by Iddo Genuth Thursday, 19 October 2006

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.

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 - 30 minutes more power. Another added bonus of the HHD is the improved reliability due to less mechanical wear and tear.

Samsung and other manufacturers are currently pursuing Solid State Drive (SSD) technology (to be covered in an upcoming TFOT article). Currently Flash prices are too high to allow SSDs to replace standard hard drives of any reasonable size and, although Flash prices are continually falling, it will be several years until such a drive will become affordable to most users. Here enters the near-term solution for enjoying improved performance at a reasonable price - the hybrid hard drive, combining the low cost and large storage capacity of conventional hard drive technology with quick and low-power Flash memory.

Apart from the reduction in Flash memory prices, hard drive manufacturers such as Samsung believe that we are about to undergo a major storage revolution in the next few years due to the upcoming release of Windows Vista. This new operating system from Microsoft will introduce three new performance-enhancing technologies: SuperFetch, ReadyBoost, and ReadyDrive. According to Microsoft, "SuperFetch understands which applications you use most, and preloads these applications into memory, so your system is more responsive". Windows ReadyBoost allows users to use a removable Flash memory device such as a USB thumb drive to improve system performance. ReadyBoost retrieves data stored on the Flash memory more quickly than data stored on the hard disk, decreasing the interval until the PC responds. Windows ReadyDrive enables Vista-based PCs equipped with an HHD to boot up faster, resume from hibernate in less time, preserve battery power, and improve hard disk reliability.

Hard disk platters are components of hard disk drives that consist of circular rigid disks that store magnetic data. While the platters in conventional hard drives rotate most of the time, thereby consuming a great deal of power, the platters in HHDs are usually at rest, as if they were off. In HHDs, incoming data is generally written to the Flash buffer and any saved documents are saved to the buffer, instead of being written to the hard drive each time. Only when the Flash buffer is almost full or when the user accesses a new file that is not stored on the buffer, will the HHD platter rotate or "spin up". Thus, the battery power of laptops with HHDs is preserved, extending battery life.

To learn more about Samsung's hybrid hard drive technology, TFOT interviewed Andy Yang, the Strategic Marketing Manager of Samsung's Memory Division.

Q: How does the HHD use Flash memory in order to improve performance?

A: Flash improves the speed, power consumption, and reliability of the hard drive. In terms of speed, the real performance gain is the result of very high performance random access. For example, booting is very seek-intensive, so with much of the boot time, the processor has low utilization because it's waiting for data from the rotating disk. With Flash, there are no mechanical latencies for random data retrievals, hence a significant performance gain.

In terms of power consumption, the system is able to buffer many of the writes to the Flash, thus enabling the drive to spin down. Once the buffer is full, the drive is spun up and the buffer is flushed, so the duty cycle of the drive can be dramatically reduced. Based on typical use cases, the expectation is that a user would write about 64 MB of unique data every 10 minutes. So it's conceivable that the drive is spun up for a few seconds every 10 minutes. (This is also because of Vista's SuperFetch technology, which will proactively cache pages to minimize the frequency with which the system will need to ping the HDD for data.)

Because the drive is one of the most vulnerable parts of the system to mechanical trauma, overall system reliability may be improved by up to five-times by keeping the spindle spun down and the heads parked.

Q: Your new HDD includes 128 MB or 256 MB of Flash. How does the amount of Flash memory affect the performance of the HHD and will 1 GB of Flash HDD perform better than the exiting models?

A: The amount of Flash will influence how much read and write cache is available. In the write case, a larger buffer allows more data to be stored in Flash before it needs to be flushed to the magnetic media. The optimal size for write cache is still to be determined since it's dependent on many variables such as usage patterns and amount of DRAM (dynamic random access memory). On the read side, the amount of Flash effects how much data can be stored for read acceleration. In addition to accelerating boot time, if a PC OEM wanted to load certain applications into the Flash to achieve a near "instant on" experience, then this code can also be "pinned" into the Flash. The HHD can also be used as a ReadyBoost device, where the Flash can be used as a read cache.

Q: Samsung's HHD uses OneNAND Flash with 18 MB/s write capability, which is still much slower than current desktop hard drives. Do you see this as a problem?

A: Sequential write performance should not be a significant issue. If there is a large file, then the HHD controller should write the file to rotating media. Keep in mind that all the data does NOT need to pass through Flash. It is ideally used to store somewhat frequent, but small size writes. If somebody is copying a huge video file to the disk, it should be streamed directly to rotating media. It's also noteworthy that although some rotating HDs have good sequential write performance, they are still significantly slower for small random writes.

Q: Would you explain how your HHD works with Microsoft's ReadyDrive technology?

A: Windows ReadyDrive enables Windows Vista PCs equipped with a hybrid hard disk to boot up faster, resume from hibernate in less time, preserve battery power, and improve hard disk reliability. The hybrid disk is intended for mobile PCs running Windows Vista. 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.

Q: Will Windows XP users be able to enjoy the new drives or will it work only on Vista?

A: HHDs are designed to work only with Vista.

Q: Are you going to launch 3.5 inch (desktop) versions of the HHD right away or will you concentrate on the portable/laptop market initially?

A: We'll concentrate on the notebook/laptop versions initially.

Q: Should we expect HHDs to price competitively with conventional hard drives of the same size upon their release?

A: Yes, they will price competitively but likely with a very slight premium.

Re:The Slashdotted Article (1)

Warbringer87 (969664) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512067)

Thats odd, people complaining about it being /.ed, but I can access the page just fine (on computers other then my own) I sent the link to my friend, he can access it fine as well. Though I did find that if you middle click the link (opens in a new tab) it gives the error. Normal clicking makes it work fine. Just what iv'e been experieincing since I initially responded.

Re:The Slashdotted Article (1)

SoloFlyer2 (872483) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512087)

it works as long as their website consumes less than 20% of the cpu on the hosting box, as soon as it consumes more, no one can access the site for a coupple of mins...

Re:here's my cache of the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16512543)

This site could benefit (1)

eggman9713 (714915) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511739)

Just think of how fast the virtual memory would be on one of those things, it could really help the linked site overcome the /. effect that has smacked it.

Re:This site could benefit (4, Funny)

bcat24 (914105) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511795)

[nitpick]I know you're just trying to be funny, but the site was suspended due to exceeding its CPU quota, not its memory quota.[/nitpick]

Re:This site could benefit (3, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512357)

the site was suspended due to exceeding its CPU quota, not its memory quota.

      So maybe if they had preloaded the site into memory, we wouldn't have this problem...

Aaaaaaaand... (-1, Redundant)

mstahl (701501) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511743)

...slashdotted! That was fast.

destroyed. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16511773)

slashdotted.

This was in the news a year ago (4, Informative)

Utopia (149375) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511775)

Looks like Samsung and Microsoft designed this together.
http://www.samsung.com/Products/HardDiskDrive/news /HardDiskDrive_20050425_0000117556.htm [samsung.com]

It was on display at WinHEC in April 2005.

Re:This was in the news a year ago (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512137)

Hmm so I wonder if Samsung had to sign some kind of non-compete clause to keep Linux and OSX out.

TFA (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16511789)

Sorry, don't know how to link to one of the Caches, but here is the text of the article:

Samsung's HHD prototype
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's HHD - faster boot and resume on Vista
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 - 30 minutes more power. Another added bonus of the HHD is the improved reliability due to less mechanical wear and tear.

Samsung and other manufacturers are currently pursuing Solid State Drive (SSD) technology (to be covered in an upcoming TFOT article). Currently Flash prices are too high to allow SSDs to replace standard hard drives of any reasonable size and, although Flash prices are continually falling, it will be several years until such a drive will become affordable to most users. Here enters the near-term solution for enjoying improved performance at a reasonable price - the hybrid hard drive, combining the low cost and large storage capacity of conventional hard drive technology with quick and low-power Flash memory.

Apart from the reduction in Flash memory prices, hard drive manufacturers such as Samsung believe that we are about to undergo a major storage revolution in the next few years due to the upcoming release of Windows Vista. This new operating system from Microsoft will introduce three new performance-enhancing technologies: SuperFetch, ReadyBoost, and ReadyDrive. According to Microsoft, "SuperFetch understands which applications you use most, and preloads these applications into memory, so your system is more responsive". Windows ReadyBoost allows users to use a removable Flash memory device such as a USB thumb drive to improve system performance. ReadyBoost retrieves data stored on the Flash memory more quickly than data stored on the hard disk, decreasing the interval until the PC responds. Windows ReadyDrive enables Vista-based PCs equipped with an HHD to boot up faster, resume from hibernate in less time, preserve battery power, and improve hard disk reliability.

Hard drive platters won't have to spin as much
Hard disk platters are components of hard disk drives that consist of circular rigid disks that store magnetic data. While the platters in conventional hard drives rotate most of the time, thereby consuming a great deal of power, the platters in HHDs are usually at rest, as if they were off. In HHDs, incoming data is generally written to the Flash buffer and any saved documents are saved to the buffer, instead of being written to the hard drive each time. Only when the Flash buffer is almost full or when the user accesses a new file that is not stored on the buffer, will the HHD platter rotate or "spin up". Thus, the battery power of laptops with HHDs is preserved, extending battery life.

To learn more about Samsung's hybrid hard drive technology, TFOT interviewed Andy Yang, the Strategic Marketing Manager of Samsung's Memory Division.

Q: How does the HHD use Flash memory in order to improve performance?

A: Flash improves the speed, power consumption, and reliability of the hard drive. In terms of speed, the real performance gain is the result of very high performance random access. For example, booting is very seek-intensive, so with much of the boot time, the processor has low utilization because it's waiting for data from the rotating disk. With Flash, there are no mechanical latencies for random data retrievals, hence a significant performance gain.

In terms of power consumption, the system is able to buffer many of the writes to the Flash, thus enabling the drive to spin down. Once the buffer is full, the drive is spun up and the buffer is flushed, so the duty cycle of the drive can be dramatically reduced. Based on typical use cases, the expectation is that a user would write about 64 MB of unique data every 10 minutes. So it's conceivable that the drive is spun up for a few seconds every 10 minutes. (This is also because of Vista's SuperFetch technology, which will proactively cache pages to minimize the frequency with which the system will need to ping the HDD for data.)

Because the drive is one of the most vulnerable parts of the system to mechanical trauma, overall system reliability may be improved by up to five-times by keeping the spindle spun down and the heads parked.

Q: Your new HDD includes 128 MB or 256 MB of Flash. How does the amount of Flash memory affect the performance of the HHD and will 1 GB of Flash HDD perform better than the exiting models?

A: The amount of Flash will influence how much read and write cache is available. In the write case, a larger buffer allows more data to be stored in Flash before it needs to be flushed to the magnetic media. The optimal size for write cache is still to be determined since it's dependent on many variables such as usage patterns and amount of DRAM (dynamic random access memory). On the read side, the amount of Flash effects how much data can be stored for read acceleration. In addition to accelerating boot time, if a PC OEM wanted to load certain applications into the Flash to achieve a near "instant on" experience, then this code can also be "pinned" into the Flash. The HHD can also be used as a ReadyBoost device, where the Flash can be used as a read cache.

Q: Samsung's HHD uses OneNAND Flash with 18 MB/s write capability, which is still much slower than current desktop hard drives. Do you see this as a problem?

A: Sequential write performance should not be a significant issue. If there is a large file, then the HHD controller should write the file to rotating media. Keep in mind that all the data does NOT need to pass through Flash. It is ideally used to store somewhat frequent, but small size writes. If somebody is copying a huge video file to the disk, it should be streamed directly to rotating media. It's also noteworthy that although some rotating HDs have good sequential write performance, they are still significantly slower for small random writes.

Q: Would you explain how your HHD works with Microsoft's ReadyDrive technology?

Benefits of the HHD
A: Windows ReadyDrive enables Windows Vista PCs equipped with a hybrid hard disk to boot up faster, resume from hibernate in less time, preserve battery power, and improve hard disk reliability. The hybrid disk is intended for mobile PCs running Windows Vista. 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.

Q: Will Windows XP users be able to enjoy the new drives or will it work only on Vista?

A: HHDs are designed to work only with Vista.

Q: Are you going to launch 3.5 inch (desktop) versions of the HHD right away or will you concentrate on the portable/laptop market initially?

A: We'll concentrate on the notebook/laptop versions initially.

Q: Should we expect HHDs to price competitively with conventional hard drives of the same size upon their release?

A: Yes, they will price competitively but likely with a very slight premium.

What's so special about Vista? (4, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511793)

What's so different about Vista that makes this drive benefit from Vista. Will the drive not work in Windows XP, Linux or Mac OSX machines?

Re:What's so special about Vista? (4, Interesting)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511995)

Vista is designed to be bootable from flash memory. Significant changes to the bootcode of XP would be nessesary for the instant on features. The other features could possibly be incorperated with drivers.

Re:What's so special about Vista? (4, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512135)

As a Linux laptop user (yes, there are a few of us) super-fast bootup would be a very attractive feature, and an advantage now falling to XP. I'm curious how the boot time will compare to a resume from "suspend to disk" (though the attractiveness of suspend to disk / suspend to ram are limited by the fact that they're often a nightmare to set up anyways).

Re:What's so special about Vista? (2, Interesting)

chmod a+x mojo (965286) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512397)

What laptop are you using? My compaq had no problems with suspend to ram/disk (i did have to set the options in the config files to suspend anyways), possibly it is because it has a AMD processor in it. I normally prefer intel but it was cheap and gets the job done quite well. Maybe AMD has better ACPI standards compliance? My intel p4 northwood is definatly NOT acpi compliant ( it does not even have the full ACPI instruction sets according to a few inux distros )

Re:What's so special about Vista? (1)

AdamKG (1004604) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512431)

On my laptop, Linux boot time is about equivalent to WinXP (back when I had it). On the other hand, I never had 28 days uptime with windows!

Suspend to RAM works perfectly for me, out-of-box, but I gather that's unusual...

Still, I'd be very surprised if the kernel didn't pick up support for this hybrid disk pretty quickly.

Re:What's so special about Vista? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16512851)

"On the other hand, I never had 28 days uptime with windows!"

Neither have I had an uptime so small with Windows XP. More like 280 days.

Re:What's so special about Vista? (4, Funny)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512579)

It might be useful to Linux users who turn off their workstations as well.

Oh wait...

Re:What's so special about Vista? (2)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512885)

You've been able to boot from Flash for years. These days, you can easily stick a 4G or 8G flash card into your PCMCIA slot and boot off that. But don't expect miracles: the boot process itself takes time. That's being addressed, though, with a rewrite of "init" (shipping with Ubuntu Edgy Eft).

Re:What's so special about Vista? (4, Interesting)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512387)

That is actually reason enough for me to re-think that whole Vista thing. With partial flash drives and eventually 100% flash drives, the last major component of computer hardware failure, namely, all of those closely moving parts in a hard drive, will be wiped out. Wow. That sounds pretty cool.

Oh yeah, and it'll be fast as hell, too.

Re:What's so special about Vista? (3, Insightful)

soupforare (542403) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512835)

Just because flash doesn't move doesn't mean flash doesn't fail.

funny? (2, Interesting)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512907)

I can't tell whether you're trying to be funny.

That is actually reason enough for me to re-think that whole Vista thing.

Has the ability to boot and run Linux off flash made you "re-think that whole Linux thing"?

With partial flash drives and eventually 100% flash drives, the last major component of computer hardware failure, namely, all of those closely moving parts in a hard drive, will be wiped out.

They'll be replaced by a medium that has a much higher MTBF for writes.

Oh yeah, and it'll be fast as hell, too.

Not really. Flash memory is not all that fast, and a lot of boot time is spent doing other things. On all my machines, most of the booting process is concerned with checking and initializing hardware.

Re:What's so special about Vista? (1)

Quaz and Wally (1015357) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511997)

It sounds like it is only designed to work with Vista. Although I don't see why a driver can't be made to have it work with other operating systems, other than that it would be difficult to do if Samsung has some sort of a contract with Microsoft. But then again, I don't know that much about drivers.

Re:What's so special about Vista? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16512321)

Q: Will Windows XP users be able to enjoy the new drives or will it work only on Vista?

A: HHDs are designed to work only with Vista.

THERE you have it, they're designed to not work with anything other than Microsoft's soon to be flagship operating system. Can anyone spell oligopolistic collution?

Re:What's so special about Vista? (4, Funny)

Who235 (959706) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512617)

Can anyone spell oligopolistic collution?

Actually, it's spelled 'collusion'.

How long until failure? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16511797)

Sadly, I can't RTFA as the account has already suffered a slashdotting, but I have a question about this drive. Isn't there an upper limit to how many times you can write to flash memory before it ceases to function? Granted, hard drives wear out eventually, but unless this stuff is of high quality then the cache is going to wear out before the rest of the drive.

When the cache dies off, what happens?

Re:How long until failure? (3, Interesting)

bcat24 (914105) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511841)

I think the cache is designed to help with booting and suspend/restore, so it shouldn't be written too much. With a large enough flash buffer, it should be able to least for the normal life of the drive.

Re:How long until failure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16512077)

If I were to design the OS, I would copy the OS boot code into the flash just prior to a system shutdown (or a big chunk of ram before a suspend). The 128MB cache should be able to substain a couple of seconds of data until the disk spins up. This overlapping essentially eliminate the spinup time,

Once the OS is running,then I would use it as a large disk cache to maximize performance. Why waste the buffer that's used once for bootup/restore...

Re:How long until failure? (2, Insightful)

wwahammy (765566) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512879)

Actually flash is used significantly more than that. The cache will actually store writes and once the flash starts to get close to full, it actually writes the cached writes to disk. While I'm sure Samsung and Microsoft have worked hard to extend the life of the flash, with that many cache I don't see how the cache could last even close to as long as the drive. My understanding is that flash is reliable up to about 100K writes compared to millions of writes to a disk drive. I still haven't heard how the drive runs once the flash becomes unreliable. Does it run like a regular drive or does it fail?

Linux Next? (2, Interesting)

Yehooti (816574) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511803)

It's designed for Vista, but I want it for Linux. How long until then I wonder?

Re:Linux Next? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16511889)

A week after they hit the market?

Re:Linux Next? (2, Insightful)

dotgain (630123) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512339)

Ha! That's for the 0.85-alpha82-pre1 version!

Open source coders are good, but they're not Godlike. If the specs aren't open they get practically nowhere sometimes, and if they are - they'll still take as long to iron out the bugs and get it stable than anybody else.

Re:Linux Next? (5, Interesting)

JimXugle (921609) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511991)

You can have a similar effect now by using a flash drive as your root partition, or as a swap partition. Keep in mind that using it as a swap partition would make the drive age faster.

Re:Linux Next? (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512987)

You can have a similar effect now by using a flash drive as your root partition, or as a swap partition. Keep in mind that using it as a swap partition would make the drive age faster.


Why? If your machine is hitting swap that often, you need to get more RAM. That is a HUGE performance hit. Ideally, your system should barely touch swap. At least on Linux. I guess Windows can be pretty liberal about swapping things out...

-matthew

Re:Linux Next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16512285)

Depends on for how long you can chain a bunch of fat Linux programmers to your house with Mountain Dews (with caffeine) and french fries.

Re:Linux Next? (4, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512343)

for how long you can chain a bunch of fat Linux programmers to your house with Mountain Dews (with caffeine) and french fries.

      Forever, then?

Re:Linux Next? (2, Funny)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512589)

If the hardware is designed for Vista, I'd bet it already runs better in linux.

Apple? (4, Interesting)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511805)

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."

Given Apple's strong relationship with Samsung (iPod shuffle+nano memory both come from Samsung, I believe- and I'm almost positive Samsung has supplied RAM to apple on+off since the golden olden days), what do others think about the possibility of this ending up in a Powerbook, er, Macbook Pro- and 10.5 being designed to take advantage of it?

Apple can be hit or miss with the latest and greatest- they took forever with USB2 (yeah yeah, firewire blah blah) and lagged behind a lot of the smaller laptop mafacturers with Expresscard (given there's next to nothing for expresscard, who can blame them?)...it'll be interesting to see if Apple thinks this is a win or lose technology...

Re:Apple? (1)

davvr6 (823826) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512363)

I don't know but doesn't this sound allot like EFI technology?

Investing in flash technology (4, Insightful)

kingkade (584184) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511999)

Flash technology seems promising and looks poised to take over devices that would be better off using solid state components (laptops, etc) that traditionally don't. I've wanted to invest in Samsung and flash technology in general. Samsung seems to only be on the Asian markets, is this so? Does anyone know of and good mutual funds/ETFs that allows one to invest in this specific tech sector?

Spansion (2, Informative)

sirra462 (827954) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512193)

Check out Spansion [spansion.com] if you want to support an American company. They are a spin off of AMD, and have some impressive technology when it comes to flash memory.

Re:Investing in flash technology (2, Informative)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#16513005)

I've wanted to invest in Samsung and flash technology in general. Samsung seems to only be on the Asian markets, is this so?

http://www.samsung.com/AboutSAMSUNG/ELECTRONICSGLO BAL/InvestorRelations/IRFAQs/StockDividend/index.h tm#a2 [samsung.com]

It's listed in London and Luxemburg too, and in the US, you can buy stock through Citibank.

It only took me a minute to find this information, it wasn't secret, hidden or hard to find. I only needed two clicks on the Samsung site.

tricky marketing (5, Funny)

Beuno (740018) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512023)

The new hybrid hard drive will be released around the same time as the upcoming Windows Vista

Why don't they just flat out say they don't know when it's going to be released?

Re:tricky marketing (1)

Plutonite (999141) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512227)

Because that wouldn't be very Genuine now would it?

*/Apologies

Re:tricky marketing (1)

Merusdraconis (730732) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512511)

Because saying it'll come out at the same time as Duke Nukum Forever is too unprofessional.

SuperFetch uncool... (1, Insightful)

Soulfarmer (607565) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512029)

SuperFetch understands which applications you use most, and preloads these applications into memory, so your system is more responsive

I for one would rather have my ram uncluttered than any of my applications preloaded. I usually have enough time to wait if it means my ram will be empty of those preloads. This new HHD tho might help in that its flash would store these preloads instead of ram.

I hope, in case I am ever in need of Vista, that SuperFetch is optional and adjustable.

Re:SuperFetch uncool... (4, Insightful)

realmolo (574068) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512091)

Why would you want your RAM to be unused? Unused RAM is useless RAM. Seriously.

I'm sure that Vista is smart enough to free up the RAM that SuperFetch is using if it could be better used for something else. It's really nothing more than a more pro-active version of the disc-cacheing that every operating system already uses.

Re:SuperFetch uncool... (2, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512401)

I'm sure that Vista is smart enough to free up the RAM that SuperFetch is using if it could be better used for something else.

It's a tweaked XP not something newer than plan9 - it will probably swap it out to disk so you get a big page file and a delay while it is doing it, which is probably one reason this new drive will help.

Personally I think it is stupider than doublespace since memory limited programs like image editors are commonplace now. The annoyance of not being able to print for a couple of minute while the memory swaps out can come to everyone. It is paticularly stupid on the MS Windows platform where people typically only perform one application task at a time - you do not want the behemoth that is office in memory while you run some graphicly intensive thing or vice versa - you almost always only have one user with one desktop and one application being worked on.

Re:SuperFetch uncool... (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512989)

Why on earth would it swap cache into the page file? That would be utterly pointless, and you are insulting their programmers for even suggesting that. If you want to bash Microsoft, at least come up with something realistic, as opposed to "the programmers of Vista are a bunch of retards who are unable to code anything properly".

Re:SuperFetch uncool... (1)

Lord Crc (151920) | more than 7 years ago | (#16513009)

Personally I think it is stupider than doublespace since memory limited programs like image editors are commonplace now. The annoyance of not being able to print for a couple of minute while the memory swaps out can come to everyone.

But since SuperFetch preloads program data, the data is already backed on disk, it just needs to update the SuperFetch cache table and voila, fresh memory page ready to serve the hungry hippo. Should be almost as quick as a regular alloc. At least that's my take on it.

Hard drives, exposed (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16512033)

You fools! Don't expose it! That'll ruin the hard drive!

*rimshot*

Super Enthused (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512059)

Is anyone else super enthused by the clearness of the HD rather than any performance improvements?

Sure faster boot ups will be great and eventually bootup will equal Flash -> DDR2 memory transfer speed but this seems like more of a limited upgrade.

Except the clear shell that's just too sexy for words!

Re:Super Enthused (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512151)

Another possible advantage - if the disk heads in a laptop can stay parked 90% of the time, it should dramatically reduce the odds of a broken/corrupt disk.

Flash (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16512063)

What happens when the flash dies?

Re:Flash (5, Funny)

NosTROLLdamus (979044) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512297)

Captain Cold takes over the world.

Re:Flash (3, Informative)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512333)

What happens when the flash dies?

      The same thing that happens when your hard drive crashes - kiss the data goobye. That's what backups are for. You DO backup every day, don't you?

Re:Flash (2, Funny)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512423)

Back ups are for wimps, back in my day we used Apple's TimeMachine and have done for ages. Think about it.

Re:Flash (2, Interesting)

Tatsh (893946) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512487)

The problem here is if we're talking about fully flash hard drives. If you bought two, one for backup (even in a ghost or RAID ghost setting), how can you rely on the fact that one won't die when it was written onto the same exact number of times, byte for byte, and used for the same amount of time? It's similar to current HD's, but these tend to not break at the same time.

Flash also can only be written onto so many times before it's rewriting capabilities start to suffer badly (don't remember the exact number, but this is when flash drives die).

Better than HDDs (2, Informative)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 7 years ago | (#16513033)

AFAIK, the flash is only used for caching small files and for faster booting, all the data will eventually be stored on the HDD. Also, they assumably use algorithms that check the flash for bad sectors and marks them unusable if they stop functioning. HDDs also use similar methods, but a flash drive will be able to die more gracefully, as there is no mechanical parts that can fail abruptly.

Why does the CF have to go on the disk? (5, Interesting)

pensivepuppy (566965) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512101)

If Vista knows about the CF, why does it need to be on the hard disk itself? It sounds like all the heavy lifting is being done by Vista anyways. WOuldn't it make more sense just to use any CF attached to the system for this caching, etc, and use normal hard disks instead? That way adding CF to a PC would improve its performance, no matter what type of hard disks you have attached.

Re:Why does the CF have to go on the disk? (4, Informative)

RoundSparrow (341175) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512197)

Vista does support this - ReadyBoost - but USB2 isn't nearly as fast as SATA 300.

Who knows how much benefit it really provides, but it sets the direction. Nice for the software to be ahead of the hardware.

Re:Why does the CF have to go on the disk? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512271)

USB2 isn't nearly as fast as SATA 300.

So what? [addonics.com]

Re:Why does the CF have to go on the disk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16512645)

>So what?

CF factor flash cards aren't nearly as fast as SATA 300 either.

So there.

Re:Why does the CF have to go on the disk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16512291)

The data would need to travel down the USB bus (I am assuming, since most CF readers are USB), be read, back up the USB Bus, then down the IDE/ATA/SATA bus to write the data to the hard drive, and then the opposite path to be "read" like this. Not sure about the archtecture, but I think it would temporarly take up some system memory and a bit of the CPU at each stage. While this would probably still be fatser than Virtiual Memory, all in all it probably wouldn't be worth it otherwise. In the case of these drives it goes down the SATA bus to a controller on the hard drive, and back up the same way.

Re:Why does the CF have to go on the disk? (0, Troll)

dfghjk (711126) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512417)

Yeah, I would have posted this as an AC too.

Mod -1 stupid.

Re:Why does the CF have to go on the disk? (2, Interesting)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512349)

I was under the impression that it did. I plugged a CF card into my laptop when it was running a Windows Vista beta, and it popped a dialog along the lines of "Do you want to use this device for file storage, or for increased system resources?"

HD for Old people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16512129)

I thought these were only for old people.

TWO WORDS : (0, Troll)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512139)

Seagate


Silent

Loaded With DNF (1, Redundant)

epedersen (863120) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512183)

'The new hybrid hard drive will be released around the same time as the upcoming Windows Vista operating system' Does that mean that you can buy it preloaded with Duke Nukem Forever?

Head to Head Power Consumption (2, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512411)

That article mentions power savings a lot, but never boils them down to raw consumption numbers.

If a standard current notebook 40GB HD were replaced with 10 standard 4GB Flash drives, how much less power would the Flash consume than the HD?

you have to wonder about the fstype and crashes (1)

sponger (96171) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512427)

what happens in the event of a crash? failure of the flash during an extended write? hard drives have SOME advantage do to the fact that magnetism is written to a disk. that can always be re created in a disaster.

Would different FS types beable to recover from failure better than others on a drive of this type?

I like the "idea" of removing the moving part.... but in the event of a head crash... you can pay some decent money...and you can get your data back... (usually)

Seems like that solid state devices are vulnerable to a "zap".

vs Raptor? (1)

postmortem (906676) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512501)

Very doubtful that it is anywhere near Raptor or high end SCSI drives when it comes to performance. At some point, the access time of 7200rpm of that drive is bottleneck.

oh? (3, Funny)

racebit (959234) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512681)

Additionally, do you honestly think any company (Intel, Microsoft, Samsung) would back this technology if it was limited to R/W cycles in thousands?

Oh? Last time I checked...my xp seems to stop working after only several hundered read/writes, funny that.

Re:oh? (2)

Tatsh (893946) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512709)

Additionally, do you honestly think any company (Intel, Microsoft, Samsung) would back this technology if it was limited to R/W cycles in thousands?

YES!

"MONEY MONEY MONEY!" -- from the horse himself

Flash has LIMITED write life. (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16512727)

Flash has LIMITED write life.

The devices spread the data around to hide the limited write cycle life, and uses error correction to hide the limited write cycle life.

At some point its worthless.

Flash is idiotic for a backing store (virtual memory) based hard drive. And atomic-commit algorithms and other safety mechanisms for structure preservation and corruption avoidance such as "Journaling" only make the chatter worse.

All the disk chatter destroys the lifespan of the flash part.

Worse... flash is SLOW for lots of non-paralell-capable individual 512 byte requests, which typically are not spread across multiple flash parts.

True, a megabyte read can be fast in flash, but lots of random 512 byte reads or writes are far slower than a modern hard drive STILL in 2006. (15,000 rpm scsi from 7 diff manufacturers for example).

But the article is about hard drives... still.. its hopeless and foolish.

people who use their computers a lot will have data corruption earlier... all due to flash problems

Great Title (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512807)

"Exposed", huh? Shouldn't that be "unveiled", or something like that? Exposing should be reserved for scandles and strippers.

Is ReadyBoost really worth a crap? (1)

nevesis (970522) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512971)

Windows ReadyBoost allows users to use a removable Flash memory device such as a USB thumb drive to improve system performance. ReadyBoost retrieves data stored on the Flash memory more quickly than data stored on the hard disk, decreasing the interval until the PC responds.

I'm a little confused about ReadyBoost.

A 7,200rpm HDD which reaches a little over 100MB/s (800Mbit/s) transfer rates.

DDR2 is up to 6.4GB/s (51.2Gbit/s) transfer rates.

And yet USB boasts a maximum of 60MB/s (480Mbit/s) transfer rates.

How is this an improvement? I understand that there are other factors in play when accessing the hard disk, but.. I digress. Is this supposed to be a cheap way for Joe Schmoe to upgrade performance?

"Don't buy 1GB of RAM for $100, but a 1GB flash drive for $30 and get 1/109th of the performance upgrade!!"

Since the site is down (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 7 years ago | (#16513031)

Anybody know if these will have a PATA interface? My thinking would be putting this into laptops that currently exist, say for example my 12"PB?
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