What is a Hybrid Drive?

This article will explain everything you need to know about hybrid drives: their benefits, the technology, and main features. We hope it will help you to decide whether you need one or not. A cache in your system is needed to store recent data to use further. Thanks to it computing can be done faster. Thus you save time on operations. Hybrid drives have their own cache between HDDs and RAM (in addition to the cache between CPU and RAM). 

What technology do Hybrid Drives use?

At the beginning of this decade, manufacturers were producing two types of disk drives: hard disks (HHDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs). Hard disk drives were more common offering more storage space for lesser prices in comparison with solid-state drives. This trend still holds true today. SSDs are still more expensive, but their storage volumes increase with each season. In an SSD you will not find an actual disk inside. Instead, there is an integrated circuit to save user’s data even without power on. There is no mechanical action going on within an SSD. This allows to save time on reading and writing data.

Now you have probably guessed that the hybrid drive technology is a combination of hard disk drives and solid-state drives. The solid-state part acts as a cache holder instead of an actual storage device. The firmware analyzes what data sets are used more frequently and places them in the SSD section of the hybrid drive. So, when your computer needs that data for whatever reason, the information will be “fetched” faster. You can think of a hybrid drive as a hard disk with a special cache used in solid-state drives, which minimizes the time for “data fetching” operations.

Quick note: “fetch” operations include disk checks, sector, and track checks for the required information. This checking is performed by rotating the magnetic heads within an HDD to that point and retrieving the required data. In addition, “data read” operations are made to be executed with “fetch” operations at the same time. This way the disk is fetching the data requested by the processor.  

HDD vs. SSD: a quick comparison

As we already mentioned above, SSDs do not have disks inside. The structure of an HDD and SSD is different. HDDs are mechanical devices. They have multiple magnetic disks inside to store information. Each magnetic disk has either one or two “heads” that it uses to read and write information. The number of heads on the disk determines how many useable sides it has – just one or both. 

The SSD construction does not involve heads and disk rotating. No mechanical actions within a disk equals much must read and write speeds. Instead of mechanical elements used in HHDs, SSDs rely on a complex circuit to store binary digits that represent the information saved on it. The circuit can “fetch” data immediately, while with an HDD you have to wait for the rotation to end before you can get your data.

That is why SSDs are much more expensive than HDDs. If you are an ardent gamer or professional that values time above everything else, SSDs are the best choice for you. In case, you need more storage space and the speed is not a major concern, then HDDs will still be a good choice for you.

Faster Data Reading Data with Hybrid Drives

Now you already know the difference between reading data on an HHD and SSD. A mix of their techniques is used to read data on hybrid drives, which are hard drives boosted with a pinch of SSD. Plus, they have their own firmware to analyze what data is used more frequently. The regularly used data is saved on the SSD portion to get it as fast as possible the next time CPU needs it (without rotating disks within a hard disk). It is like reading information directly from RAM – all disk tracing, tracking, and rotating is taken out of the equation. Substantially, parts of the operating system are more likely stored on SSDs as well as other programs used very often. 

Remember that first time you will use your hybrid disk drive, you will not see any difference in speed (because its SSD section will be empty). But as you keep using it more and more, launching apps and programs, the firmware will analyze your actions and save the most frequently used data where it should be. 

Final Words

In conclusion, we can say that hybrid drives are still new to the market, but they offer a good alternative to pricey SSDs. Most users still need large volumes to save their files and data but with some extra speed added to the mix – this is what hybrid drives are for.

This concludes our review of the hybrid disk technology. We hope we were able to answer your questions on this topic. If you still want to ask a question about hybrid drives, feel free to contact us!