Ultra-thin Hybrid HDD, High-speed SSD Featured at Show

Jun 11, 2013
Jyunichi Oshita, Nikkei BP Semiconductor Research
The hybrid SSD exhibited by Western Digital
The hybrid SSD exhibited by Western Digital
[Click to enlarge image]
A demonstration of Apacer Technology's "Combo SATA Drive." Its read speed is 1 Gbyte per second.
A demonstration of Apacer Technology's "Combo SATA Drive." Its read speed is 1 Gbyte per second.
[Click to enlarge image]
Innodisk's "nanoSSD"
Innodisk's "nanoSSD"
[Click to enlarge image]

At the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center, one of the main sites of Computex Taipei 2013, which runs from June 4 to 8, 2013, in Taipei, Taiwan, there was a corner where various storage devices including HDDs (hard disk drives) and SSDs (solid state drives) were exhibited.

In the corner, the manufactures of the devices highlighted their high operation speeds, high reliabilities, small sizes, etc. Especially, ultra-slim hybrid HDDs and high-speed SSDs attracted my attention.

Western Digital
Western Digital Corp exhibited a 2.5-inch hybrid HDD that is 5mm in thickness and 74g in weight. It is 2mm thinner than the company's previous slim HDD (7mm). The slimness was realized by using a very thin printed-circuit board (μPCB), forming a connector on part of the PCB to eliminate the need for an external connector, etc.

The capacity of the HDD is 500 Gbytes, and it is equipped with up to 24 Gbytes of NAND flash memory as cache memory. The NAND flash memory is an MLC (multi-level cell) type manufactured by SanDisk Corp. The HDD was just released for "ultrabook" slim notebook computers.

Apacer Technology
Apacer Technology Inc showed the "Combo SATA Drive," an SSD that realizes a read speed of 1 Gbyte per second with the RAID 0 configuration, for industrial use. It contains two NAND flash memory chips and two NAND controller chips. The two sets can operate in parallel. And a host device recognizes it as two SSDs.

The Combo SATA Drive supports the SATA III interface (data transmission speed: 6Gbps) and has a storage capacity of 64 to 256 Gbytes. Its NAND flash memory is an SLC (single-level cell) type manufactured by Toshiba Corp. Apacer Technology plans to start shipment in the near future.

With the Combo SATA Drive, it is also possible to mount SLC and MLC NAND chips and use the former for operating system (OS) and the latter for data storage.

Innodisk
Innodisk Corp exhibited the "nanoSSD," an SSD for industrial use. Its dimensions are as small as 16 x 20 x 2mm. It was made by storing NAND flash memory and the company's controller chip in a BGA package compatible with JEDEC's "MO-276 (SATA μSSD)." The storage capacities of the SLC and MLC types are 2-16 Gbytes and 4-32 Gbytes, respectively.