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Hybrid Drives: Their Pros and Cons

The hybrid hard drive, sometimes abbreviated as HHD, is a newly introduced digital storage system that combines the traditional disk-based hard drive architecture with some of the benefits of Flash memory. With several popular companies already offering HHDs alongside their more conventional counterparts, more consumers are beginning to embrace the perks of using a hybrid hard drive for everyday computing.

How it Works

The principle of the hybrid hard drive is really quite simple. While the hard drive itself still relies on a hard disk platter to store the bulk of the drive's contents, information that is accessed more often will instead be relocated to the drive's Flash-based memory architecture. Blending the best features of traditional hard drives with today's solid state drives, the HHD allows users to get the best of both worlds.

Pros

There are numerous benefits to using a HHD as a part of your system. For starters, the entire data storage and retrieval process is much quicker when compared to a traditional, disk-based hard drive; especially when working with word processing programs.

Because the disk will not be accessed nearly as much as it would be in a traditional hard disk drive, the hybrid hard drive actually uses less power than older, disk-based drives. The decreased disk access also reduces the overall level of operating noise, while simultaneously decreasing the amount of heat generated by your drive. In systems where overheating is a problem, switching to a HHD may be your solution.

Hybrid hard drives are also an excellent choice for use in laptops, notebooks and even PDAs. Because the power consumption is lower than disk-based drives, users will certainly notice an extended battery life when using a HHD in any of these devices.

Since there is less disk access and less heat generation, you can also expect an increased lifespan out of a hybrid drive when compared directly to a disk-based hard drive. This ultimately equates to increased file safety as well as monetary savings down the road.

Cons

Despite the many benefits to hybrid hard drives, there are some drawbacks to the technology. One of the biggest downsides is the fact that your data cannot be recovered from the drive's internal Flash modules in the event of a crash. While this only applies to the files that are stored within the drive's Flash-based memory, any important files will be lost for good.

Another con pertains only to data that is stored on the disk portion of an HHD. Files contained here are subject to longer seek times, as well as longer spin up and spin down times when compared to plain hard disk drive. However, the time saved when accessing files stored within the Flash modules is enough for some to warrant the usage of the HHD.

The final drawback of today's HHDs is the cost. Since this is newly introduced technology, consumers can expect to pay much more for a hybrid drive as opposed to a traditional hard disk drive. The amount you will save by not having to purchase a new hard drive in the future, however, may very well justify the initial investment.

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