Marvell Rolls Out HyperDuo for Mixing HDDs and SSDs at CES

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by Jacqueline Emigh

At CES, Marvell unveiled HyperDuo, a new storage controller technology – set for inclusion in PC motherboards – which is meant to let consumers mix and match hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid state drives (SSDs) without worrying about what data should be stored on which drive.

Tiered storage has been hitting the home market over the past year in portable hybrid drives such as Seagate’s Momentus XT, which combines a built-in HDD and SSDs, both of fixed capacities.

Marvell HyperDuo

Like the Momentus XT, a new HyperDuo-powered embedded device from Marvell – known as the 88SE9130 SATA controller — will automatically move data between the two types of drives without requiring manual intervention.

The data that you access most frequently is assigned to the faster, but typically smaller SSD, while data you access less often is allocated to the slower but larger HDD.

Unlike a hybrid drive, though, Marvell’s 9130 controller is designed to work with users’ new and existing HDDs and SSDs, regardless of the sizes of these drives.

Pricing on traditionally expensive SSDs has been falling some, and analyst firms such as iSuppli have been urging SSD vendors to boost sales by cutting pricetags even further.

Marvell might have seized a golden moment to introduce new storage technology that will allow for simpler and more flexible hybrid configurations of HDDs and SSDs.

To the end user, a hybrid set-up combining an HDD and an SSD will look just like that of an ordinary hard drive volume, such as a C: drive, according to Marvell officials.

Users will be able to choose, however, between two HyperDuo modes. Capacity Mode will be geared to maximizing storage capacity for large amounts of data such as photos, games, videos, music, and documents.

Safe Mode, on the other hand, will store a copy of all data on both the SSD and HDD in the event that one of the drives fails.

Reportedly, several motherboard vendors have already signed on for Marvell’s embedded hybrid storage controller, including Gigabyte, ASRock, and Asus.

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