April 25, 2005 2:46 PM PDT

Samsung hybrid hard drive works while it sleeps

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April 25, 2005
SEATTLE--Microsoft and Samsung showed off a prototype hard drive Monday that can record data while idling, a twist that has the potential to significantly cut power consumption in notebooks.

The trick is that the hard drive contains a 1Gb flash memory chip from Samsung's OneNAND family. Incoming data is directly recorded to the chip. When the chip is about full, the hard drive wakes up, takes the data, records it and goes back into idle.

Typically, hard drives rotate. Hard drive motors, along with LCD screens, are two of the largest consumers of power inside a laptop.

In the hybrid, the drive rarely spins. In the prototype hybrid being shown off Monday at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, the drive spins only about 30 to 45 seconds every half hour, said Ivan Greenberg, director of strategic marketing for Samsung Semiconductor. The goal is to get it to 30 to 45 seconds for an hour.

"The traditional hard drive takes up about 10 to 15 percent of the battery power of your notebook," Greenberg said. Thus, in a notebook with a four hour battery, the hybrid drive could extend battery life by about 36 minutes.

The companies also said the drive could help accelerate boot-up time.

The product in many ways reflects Samsung's design strategies. (Samsung was working on a hybrid drive in Korea when subsequently Microsoft began to participate in the project, according to Greenberg.) The company often tries to get different divisions to cooperate to help reduce costs, improve performance and, ideally, increase profitability. Samsung's rise in cell phones has come in part because of increased cooperation between industrial designers and component groups at the company.

Samsung is the world's largest flash memory maker but it plays a somewhat smaller role in hard drives. Right now, both the broader flash memory and hard-drive markets are suffering through a decline in pricing.

OneNAND is a relatively new line of chips from Samsung that share some of the characteristics of NAND flash memory, such as a high density and a rapid recording rate, and NOR flash memory, which historically has sported a fast data retrieval rate. Samsung primarily produces NAND while Intel and Spansion produce NOR. Similarly, Intel and Spansion are concocting hybrid products.

Notebooks containing these drives should hit the market in late 2006.

18 comments

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SAMSUNG = "SAM-POONG" + "SUNG-SU"
I live in S. Korea - Samsung's home turf - and you know what? I have to say that the Samsung's products, esp. hard drives and laptops, are the worst kind of all in the industry... I wouldn't recommend them for anyone... I wouldn't even associate with Samsung...
Posted by (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
SAMSUNG = AMAZING
What are you talking about dude? Give specifics, please. I use exclusively Samsung drives on all 4 of my laptops and my Dell 9100 Demension desktop. Goto SilentPCReview and read up on their drives. They are AWESOME, quiet as can be, and run cool. I can literally hear the processor working over the notebook hard drives!!! I've had 3 drive failures in my lifetime, 1 Maxtor, 1 Segate, and just recently one Fujitsu in my Thinkpad. In my opinion they simply make the best notebook drives. Why do you think Microsoft is using their drives in the Xbox 360. Get your facts straight or provide some.
Posted by jake1271 (8 comments )
Link Flag
Samsung needs an edge
I live in Canada and Korean products here are everywhere. Samsung needs to do something about hard drives and jump on the money vagon.
Posted by ahtoh1 (6 comments )
Link Flag
SAMSUNG = "SAM-POONG" + "SUNG-SU"
I live in S. Korea - Samsung's home turf - and you know what? I have to say that the Samsung's products, esp. hard drives and laptops, are the worst kind of all in the industry... I wouldn't recommend them for anyone... I wouldn't even associate with Samsung...
Posted by (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
SAMSUNG = AMAZING
What are you talking about dude? Give specifics, please. I use exclusively Samsung drives on all 4 of my laptops and my Dell 9100 Demension desktop. Goto SilentPCReview and read up on their drives. They are AWESOME, quiet as can be, and run cool. I can literally hear the processor working over the notebook hard drives!!! I've had 3 drive failures in my lifetime, 1 Maxtor, 1 Segate, and just recently one Fujitsu in my Thinkpad. In my opinion they simply make the best notebook drives. Why do you think Microsoft is using their drives in the Xbox 360. Get your facts straight or provide some.
Posted by jake1271 (8 comments )
Link Flag
Samsung needs an edge
I live in Canada and Korean products here are everywhere. Samsung needs to do something about hard drives and jump on the money vagon.
Posted by ahtoh1 (6 comments )
Link Flag
I agree
But let's have them design this technology so others can copy it on their own drives. I still think Samsung is better than Hitachi.
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I agree
But let's have them design this technology so others can copy it on their own drives. I still think Samsung is better than Hitachi.
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The idea sounds great...
.... and while my experience with Samsung lies in a 61" TV, a
DirecTV set-top box, and a DVD player, that experience so far has
been very good.

I think that the hybrid drive needs a lot more attention, but I would
also suggest that a 1 GB buffer is a bit small for overall capacities
larger than 10 GB. And does the buffer wor during 'read' too? or
just during 'write'?
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This would only be used for writing
Drives have had volatile memory for caching both reads and writes for many years now but since it's a volatile memory the write has to be performed quickly. Using a seperate Flash memory allows the writes to be delayed until the Flash memory is nearly full because a loss of power will no longer cause a loss of data. It's a clever advance and will no doubt be brought to the desktop drives quickly as well since it will help reduce power consumption and noise levels there too.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Link Flag
The idea sounds great...
.... and while my experience with Samsung lies in a 61" TV, a
DirecTV set-top box, and a DVD player, that experience so far has
been very good.

I think that the hybrid drive needs a lot more attention, but I would
also suggest that a 1 GB buffer is a bit small for overall capacities
larger than 10 GB. And does the buffer wor during 'read' too? or
just during 'write'?
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This would only be used for writing
Drives have had volatile memory for caching both reads and writes for many years now but since it's a volatile memory the write has to be performed quickly. Using a seperate Flash memory allows the writes to be delayed until the Flash memory is nearly full because a loss of power will no longer cause a loss of data. It's a clever advance and will no doubt be brought to the desktop drives quickly as well since it will help reduce power consumption and noise levels there too.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Link Flag
FULL flash HDD
Jump to full flash hdd.
Corporate laptop manufacturers like IBM, Toshiba, HP will eat it out of Samsungs hand.

I'm a tech and see almost 50% of spindle laptop hard drives being replaced after two years. IBM pays for new HDD and for service. Any laptop maker will switch to full flash HDD to avoid such costly operation.

P.S. Flash drive can probaly implement RAID 5. Yeyy!!! Just assume that drive consists of 1000 smaller drives (flash registers) and enable RAID 5.
Posted by ahtoh1 (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
hybrid drive
Who currently sells a desktop with the option of putting in a hybrid drive? Can't find one on Dell or HP.
Posted by hofhof (2 comments )
Link Flag
FULL flash HDD
Jump to full flash hdd.
Corporate laptop manufacturers like IBM, Toshiba, HP will eat it out of Samsungs hand.

I'm a tech and see almost 50% of spindle laptop hard drives being replaced after two years. IBM pays for new HDD and for service. Any laptop maker will switch to full flash HDD to avoid such costly operation.

P.S. Flash drive can probaly implement RAID 5. Yeyy!!! Just assume that drive consists of 1000 smaller drives (flash registers) and enable RAID 5.
Posted by ahtoh1 (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
hybrid drive
Who currently sells a desktop with the option of putting in a hybrid drive? Can't find one on Dell or HP.
Posted by hofhof (2 comments )
Link Flag
 

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