A terrible press image for the Seagate Momentus XT.
WD just announced the release of their new hybrid hard drive technology, which combines super fast SSD storage with traditional rotating media. The storage behemoth isn’t the first to come out with a hybrid hard drive – that honor belongs to competitors Seagate and Samsung – but it appears to be the first to create one this thin.
Getting storage devices thinner is of huge concern to manufacturers of high-tech, extremely thin notebooks, like the recent wave of Intel-powered Ultrabooks.
Traditional hard drives have hovered around 9.5 millimeters in height, though recent advances have managed to shave that down to 7mm or so.
This new hybrid drive cuts even that down to a miniscule 5mm. For comparison’s sake, Seagate’s solution comes in at a relatively large 9.5mm for its 500GB version, and 9.7mm for its 750GB version.
The Western Digital hybrid hard drive is currently being created in a 500GB model.
Of course, getting the drive thinner isn’t the only bonus to pairing hard drive and flash drive technologies – instead, users benefit from a ‘best of both worlds’ scenario. Certain files, like common applications and boot programs, can be cached on the flash part of the hybrid drive. This can speed up boot times by close to 50%.
WD has remained mum on possible ship times or pricing for the new razor-thin hybrid drives – they won’t be coming to market in the next few weeks, that much is for certain.