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Brad Fitzpatrick

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Hybrid Hard Drives [Oct. 20th, 2006|07:43 am]
Brad Fitzpatrick
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You think I'd be excited about hybrid hard drives, but reading the article I'm just seething with anger: why has it taken so long? Why didn't this happen so many years ago? A "buffer of 128 or 256 MB" isn't expensive, and hasn't been expensive for awhile.

And then it gets into the "vista vista vista! omg!" stuff, which is misleading. Yes, some cool stuff is in Vista wrt memory management, and if the HHD exposes information which lets the vm system in the kernel do smarter shit, great. But 1) if there are/were open specs to the disk, it could work with any OS, and even if not, people will figure it out, and 2) there's no reason the harddrive can't still look like a harddrive and work with any OS, and still have a lot of advantage from having a bunch of memory inside.

Hell, I bet the "HHD" just shows up as two SATA devices, one typical disk, and one flash, and all the magic is in Vista, not in the drive's controller.

Rant, rant, rant.

But at least we'll finally be getting non-volatile memory into our laptops.

[User Picture]From: dormando
2006-10-20 04:12 pm (UTC)
Friend of mine got a model to test with vista recently. It's actually a SATA extension with a bunch of extra commands to talk to the flash. I couldn't get him to cough up specs...
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[User Picture]From: my_virtual
2006-10-20 06:52 pm (UTC)
OMG, Brad, you're in Moscow now, what are you writing about? 8-)
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[User Picture]From: muerte
2006-10-20 09:01 pm (UTC)
I remember WAY back in the day you making a post about not making bigger faster CPUs, but making them smaller and cooler. You said the same thing about HDs too. It made sense back then it makes sense now. Seems pretty silly that SOMEONE hasn't done something like this before. Especially with the cost of memory at an all time low.

It doesn't even have to be super FAST memory, just enough to keep the heads from having to spin around those platters.
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[User Picture]From: askbjoernhansen
2006-10-21 12:27 am (UTC)
Shouldn't it have more memory before it's fun? I can see it might help startup a little, but how often do you startup the computer anyway (vs just going to sleep). Flash memory isn't that fast *and* wears out too fast to update frequently anyway. I can see the potential for spinning down the disk for longer, but come on. Boring.

The article somewhat confuses the traditional (fast) cache memory on the disks with the new flash memory too, so let me also point out how more real (cache) memory would be a waste because the bandwidth to the disk is much faster than the disks anyway.
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[User Picture]From: andrewducker
2006-10-21 04:09 pm (UTC)
I largely agree - for desktops - the main potential seems to be in power-saving for laptops, that can leave the HD spun down most of the time, spinning up only to flush the flash cache.
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[User Picture]From: ciphergoth
2006-10-21 09:20 am (UTC)
I fear that you answered your own question.
why has it taken so long?

I bet the "HHD" just shows up as two SATA devices, one typical disk, and one flash, and all the magic is in Vista, not in the drive's controller.
Though actually you might be mistaken on the seecond point - that would be the Right Thing, but I bet that for backwards compatibility they've put the smarts in the controller where they can't be upgraded.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2006-10-22 10:08 pm (UTC)
Ideally it'd do both somehow.... do the magic itself for legacy OSes, or expose it as two devices if the OS can do it smarter.
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