I've never really been a believer in hybrid hard drives as they've never been competitive to SSDs when it comes to speed. Today at the Flash Memory Summit 2012, Toshiba had a demo showing just how wrong I could be. They had three identical laptops set up, one with a 19nm NAND SSD, one with a 5,400RPM drive, and one with an undisclosed hybrid drive.
The demo was booting from a completely powered down state into Windows and then starting a movie playing. Some of the results were shocking, to say the least. The traditional 5,400 RPM hard disk of course came in last as you would expect. However, the hybrid drive and the SSD were locked in a dead heat to the finish.
While the SSD finished before the hybrid drive, it couldn't have taken the hybrid drive more than 2 seconds longer. This result is quite a bit different from what I have seen in the past with regards to hybrid drives. When pressed, Toshiba wouldn't say when we would see this hybrid drive on the market or really give us any info. The best I could get from them is that it is a demo showing what is possible. All of a sudden hybrid drives are looking a whole lot more attractive.
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