WD Announces New 5mm Hybrid Hard Drives, Paves way for Thinner Ultrabooks

WD Hybrid Storage

Western Digital (WD) have announced a new and improved hybrid storage option for OEM’s to incorporate in to their Ultrabooks of the future.

In order to make some top-end and upper mid-range Ultrabooks more affordable to the masses OEM’s regularly release ultra-portables with hybrid storage as standard, which makes full use of a regular good old fashioned large capacity HDD and smaller SSD to provide quick boot up times.

The problem with the above method however is that currently standard hybrid storage limits an Ultrabooks dimensions due to the HDD being above or around 7mm tall. In order for Ultrabooks of the future to be thinner leaner machines, one has to naturally shrink the size of internal components in order to make way for a more slender shell.

Western Digital knows this, and as such is currently prepping a new style of hybrid storage to be incorporated in to Ultrabooks. What makes it news worthy however is that this storage will be smaller in size than current offerings, at just 5mm (0.2in) tall, allowing the possibility for even thinner and lighter Ultrabooks in the future. According to WD, the company has reduced storage footprint by almost 50% overall as compared to more traditional drives with their latest 5mm hybrid.

Asus and Acer have both mentioned their collaboration in testing with WD over this drive, and as such you can safely bet that in the near future TimelineUltra series and Zenbook series Ultrabooks will be thinner than ever before.

Full press release below. Enjoy!

WD® Creates World’s Thinnest 2.5-inch Hybrid Hard Drive

New 5 mm Standard Slashes Storage Footprint by Almost 50% Compared to Traditional 2.5-inch Hard Drives

IRVINE, Calif. – Sept. 10, 2012 – WD®, a subsidiary of Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) today announced it is sampling a 5mm-thin hard disk drive featuring hybrid technology. WD has developed hard drives slim enough for integration into today’s thinnest notebook PCs, which provide high-capacity storage and robustness while featuring instant-on and application performance similar to today’s client solid state drives (SSDs). The new technologies will be showcased during WD’s Investor Day, Sept. 13, 2012.

“Mobile devices are becoming smaller, thinner, lighter and more responsive,” said Matt Rutledge, vice president of client storage solutions at WD. “Working with our technology partners, WD has developed new 5 mm hard drives that enable high capacity storage along with excellent performance and superior economics to allow our customers to expand their thin offerings.”

With device volumetric efficiency a key concern for system makers, WD began shipping 7 mm height hard drives for thin-profile notebooks earlier this year (historically, standard notebook hard drives have been 9.5 mm). WD 5 mm hybrid hard drives will enable the market’s thinnest computers to offer 500 GB of capacity, utilizing almost 50% less volume compared to current 9.5 mm hard drives and at one tenth the cost of similar capacity SSDs.

“Acer is partnering with WD to bring advanced notebook performance and capacity in the smallest form factor,” said David Lee, associate vice president of Mobile Computing Product business unit at Acer. “It’s a part of our ongoing commitment to present leading technology that ultimately improves the total user experience of our customers.”

“We are seeing a shift in the computing world to more powerful mobile computing solutions,” said SY Shain, senior vice president of ASUS’ notebook business unit. “With this in mind, ASUS and WD are collaborating to create slimmer and more mobile notebook solutions – without sacrificing capacity or performance – to deliver smaller form-factor to consumers.”

Hybrid Technology and Client Tiered Storage

WD’s innovative hybrid technology pairs MLC NAND flash storage for fast SSD-like data throughput and instant-on responsiveness with magnetic disks for efficient, high-capacity storage. Similar to the practice of multi-million dollar enterprise systems, WD’s hybrid technology utilizes the concept of tiered storage. Data accessed most frequently (often referred to as ‘hot’ data) is managed using speedy NAND flash to ensure fast response times, while data accessed less often (‘cold’ data) resides on the robust magnetic disks. The tiered design of hybrid hard drives, compared to current dual-drive solutions, also provides a redundancy benefit for users. The magnetic disk backs up all files residing in the NAND, protecting the user from inevitable NAND wear and preserving it for the more hot data handling. WD’s hybrid technology works in conjunction with the PC operating system to deliver higher performance than current hybrid offerings while minimizing NAND wear to allow the use of less expensive MLC NAND.

Hybrid hard drives combine NAND flash and magnetic disks, simplifying storage-element integration for OEM customers and providing a host of end user benefits: superior performance, responsiveness, lower power consumption, greater operating shock tolerance, and data protection. And unlike dual-drive designs, WD’s hybrid technology provides single-unit design homogeneity that OEM system manufacturers have long sought from the storage industry.

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About Jakk

Consumer technology nut with a rather keen love for good writing. 22, owner of multiple consumer technology news and reviews websites, you can rely on me to offer all of you lovely UK consumers up to date information on Ultrabooks. Find me on . Follow me on Twitter.
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