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Western Digital Announces World’s Thinnest Hybrid Hard Drive

Western Digital's latest drive measures a mere 5 millimeters thick and 2.5 inches long


Western Digital, one of the world's largest hard drive manufacturers, will introduce a new 5 millimeter-thin, 2.5-inch long hybrid hard disk drive at the company's WD Investor Day event on September 13th, 2012.

Hybrid hard drives have NAND flash storage and standard hard disk drives, which allows them to combine the speed of solid-state drives (SSD) and the capacity of standard HDDs to deliver an excellent user experience. When used with a standard desktop or laptop computer, a hybrid drive can store frequently accessed information in its solid-state MLC NAND memory, allowing for extremely fast file operations. The drive uses its hard disk drive for less frequently accessed data.

Because of the unique way that they store data, hybrid drives are extremely energy efficient and shock tolerant. They're an excellent alternative to modern "dual drive" setups, in which computer users install expensive SSDs for their operating systems and programs and HDDs for long-term storage.

Innovative Technology

In a press release, Western Digital's Vice President of Client Storage Solutions, Matt Rutledge, explained the innovative technology.

"Mobile devices are becoming smaller, thinner, lighter and more responsive," Rutledge said. "Working with our technology partners, WD has developed new 5 mm hard drives that enable high capacity storage along with excellent performance and superior economics to allow our customers to expand their thin offerings."

The extremely thin profile of the new drive opens up new possibilities for high-performance laptops. The 5 mm hybrids are easily the thinnest hybrids on the market, and with a capacity of 500GB, they provide ample storage for a growing computer market. Western Digital developed the drive with Acer, and Acer will apparently use the hybrid in an upcoming business notebook.

"We are seeing a shift in the computing world," said Acer's Associate VP of Mobile Computing, David Lee. "ASUS and WD are collaborating to create slimmer and more mobile notebook solutions, without sacrificing capacity or performance, to deliver smaller form-factor to consumers."

Crucially, the drives are also quite inexpensive. Each drive will retail at "a tenth of the cost of similar capacity SSDs" according to Western Digital, although the hard drive manufacturer's press release makes no specific mention of price.

Higher Standard of Reliability

Hybrid drives are thought to be more reliable than either standard hard drives or full solid-state drives, since they protect the user from NAND wear by storing data on standard hard drive disks, but operate those disks less frequently, reducing the chance of a physical drive failure.

Western Digital claims that the new 5mm drives offer greater data protection than standard hard drives, which seems likely given the drive's specifications. However, all hard drives with moving parts eventually fail, so computer users who decide to purchase the new 5 mm hybrid drives will still need to use a good backup system.

We regularly recover hybrid hard drives, and find that they pose many of the same challenges as traditional hard drives. To safely recover them, we always use a Certified Class 10 IS0 4 Cleanroom, and depending on the location of our clients' critical files, we sometimes use specialized flash memory readers to extract files from the NAND components of the drives.

For more information on our SSD, HDD and hybrid drive data recovery services, call us today at 1-800-388-1266.

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