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The Features and Usefulness of Western Digital and SanDisk’s First Ever SSHD

August 23, 2013 By: abhayjeet Category: Hardware

Western Digital, a trusted name in the field of hard drives, has revealed the information about its first ever hybrid drive that it has created with the collaboration of SanDisk. By using the NAND flash technology of SanDisk, Western Digital (WD) is delivering world’s thinnest Solid State Hybrid Drive (SSHD) – the WD Black SSHD of only 5mm.

WDblue ultraslim

Hybrid drives typically use a small amount of NAND flash memory (used for improving its performance) with the combination of traditional hard drive that works as added storage. In this association for providing large storage capacity with the combination of improved performance, SandDisk supplies iSSD NAND flash, and Western Digital (WD) offers WD Black hard drive for creating SSHD. This combination uses SATA interface of 6 GBPS.

Depending upon the system requirements of a laptop manufacturer, a WD Black SSHD can have 8 GB to 24 GB NAND flash memory on board. Generally, a 5 mm SSHD offers 500 GB of hard disk drive capacity. The stand-alone iSSD of SandDisk is a SATA based flash drive that has 128 GB capacity and offers sequential read-write performance of up to 450 MB/sec and 350 MB/sec respectively. Therefore, if the data placement of firmware controlling the hard drive works as designed, then WD SSHD must offer the similar performance.

If you compare this SSHD with Seagate’s 7 mm high laptop SSHD that also has 500 GB capacity, then you will find out that Seagate drive has maximum performance of 600 MB/sec. This SSHD of Seagate has 8 GB NAND flash memory from Intel on board. It uses a 5,400 revolution per minute spindle speed hard drive. However, the Western Digital says that it cannot disclose the spindle speed of its SSHD at this point of time.

Both these SSHDs use the same manufacturing style, but the caching style is quite different in them. Seagate uses caching at the drive level through firmware for selecting the data that goes to the NAND flash memory. On the other hand, WD incorporates driver software that is closer to the Operating System (OS) and the user. However, both these caching schemes (drive-based and driver-based) use efficient and patent algorithms for identifying and optimizing the hot data.

The main difference that lies between these two data caching algorithms is that the caching at drive level occurs far away from the OS and the user, whereas the caching at the driver level means finding out the difference between hot versus cold data, and hence is even closer to the user. Since the drive is a stand-alone unit, its installation and use is simple, which is its biggest advantage. In contrast, a driver-based caching should be compatible with the system and all the variables that it brings, and hence it is a bit difficult. This is the reason why Western Digital is focused on [system manufacturer] integrated hybrid drives. The biggest example of this is Western Digital’s collaboration with SanDisk and the development of one of the thinnest Solid State Hybrid Drive of 5 MM, i.e. WD Black SSHD.

In this way, the smaller hybrid drives utilize less than 50% volume than a standard notebook or laptop hard drive (which generally is of 7 MM and 9.5 MM heights). The use of dense NAND flash with 19-nanometer processor technology makes it one of the best sold-state hybrid drives till date.

With the combination of these useful features and brining of the hybrid technology in the hard drives, the WD Black is not only improving the storage capacity and performance of hard drives, but also ensuring data security. The risk of data loss is at bay in such drives, and hence users as well as hard drive manufacturers prefer SSHDs than normal hard drives.

Although the cost price of SSHDs is bigger than the normal hard drives, lesser chances of data loss are neutralizing the cost. This ideally means with the use of these drives, you need not worry about the integrity of your data, and hence data loss that is one of the biggest concerns for normal hard drive users. By using these drives as data storage unit, you need not think about various data security norms like data backup or professional data recovery tools, which involve additional cost for sure.

So, what are you waiting for? Just utilize the efficient technology of hybrid drives, bring them for your Laptop or desktop, or purchase the computer that uses these drives as data storage unit and improve the speed of your computer to make it a more trustworthy and authentic machine. The data security feature of WD Black SSHD is another reliable feature that enables you to work in more trusted environment without having the fear of data loss on hard drive.