Hitachi speeds up flash hard drive

— 11:54 AM on July 14, 2006

As we've seen in our review of the Super Talent 2.5" IDE Flash drive, flash-based hard drives aren't necessarily a good solution for users seeking high performance. However, Hitachi may have found an answer to the storage medium's sluggish transfer rates, if a report by Japan's Nihon Keizai Shimbun is to be believed. Mechanical hard drives commonly rely on 2-16 MB of DRAM cache to speed up data transfers, and Hitachi seems to have applied this method to flash storage by combining NAND flash with DRAM in an upcoming flash hard drive. Ensuing performance gains bump transfer speeds from 33 MB/s for Hitachi's standard NAND to a cool 99 MB/s for the "hybrid" drive, the report claims, although it doesn't clarify whether these values apply to burst rates or sustained speeds.

Nevertheless, Hitachi plans to ship its NAND/DRAM flash drives next year. The devices will provide up to 32 GB of storage, but they may not be for everyone: prices will reportedly be as high as ¥100,000—equivalent to just under $860.

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