Solid State Hybrid Drives (SSHDs)

A look into drives that combines the best features of HDDs and SSDs

SSHD stands for Solid State Hybrid Drive, a relatively recent development in storage devices that combines the best features of magnetic HDDs and those of the faster SSDs.

An SSHD takes the traditional rotating platters of a magnetic HDD and links them with a relatively small amount of higher speed solid state flash memory, combining them on a single drive.

Left: HDD / Centre: SSD / Right: SSHD

An SSHD works by constantly monitoring the data being read from the computers hard drive and by then caching the most commonly used data on the flash memory.  The data stored on the flash part of the drive will change over time, depending on which information the user access most often.  Once that data is stored on the flash memory part of the drive, however, it will be continually read from the flash, resulting in SSD comparable performance for the most accessed pieces of data from the drive.

Whilst a little more expensive than a traditional HDD, SSHDs are significantly more cost effective than utilising an SSD as a primary drive in a computer system.  This is mainly due to the relatively small amount of flash memory needed in an SSHD for it to work efficiently, accessing that most used data whilst leaving lesser used data on the traditional Hard Disk Drive.

Computer systems perceive SSHDs as a single drive rather than two (the SSD separately to the HDD), making the SSHD as simple to work with and manage as more traditional drives.  Additionally, because the cache system is effectively hidden from the computer system, users have no need to identify which data they wish to store on the SSD section of the drive. This leads to a number of advantages, including improved boot times.

Hybrid Drive Benefits
Study Reference Disclaimer. 

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