Remember the 5mm hybrid HDD announcement from yesterday? I just spent some time with the drive itself at the IDF Tech Showcase. 

The 5mm drive will be OEM-only at this point as a result of its fairly unique SATA/power connector. WD implemented the SFF-8038 connector, which is standardized but very rare in the industry at this point. The new connector seems necessary to hit the ultra thin 5mm form factor.

The drive will be available in both Blue (HDD only) and Black (HDD + NAND) varieties. The NAND on the Black drive is hidden by the bottom cover so you unfortunately can't see it in the photos below. WD gave us time with a 500GB model at 5mm as well as a 1TB model at 7mm. The NAND capacity varies from 8GB - 32GB depending on the OEM needs. Both reads and writes are cached in the NAND.

There's no word on OEM pricing or availability.

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  • MonkeyPaw - Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - link

    Do they feel pretty solid? I'm curious how shock resistant they will be.
  • Souka - Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - link

    I'm guessing typical

    40G operating
    300G non-operating

    I also suspect the transfer and seek will be horrible (except for cached data on the SSD part).
  • 1008anan - Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - link

    At what etch lithography are the Nand fabricated?

    Could you describe what combination of Nand (one level cell, two level cell etc.) and traditional HD are in this hybrid?
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - link

    Information elsewhere suggests it's MLC.
  • Alexvrb - Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - link

    Elsewhere I've heard that it's MLC, so two level. Not sure if capacities are raw capacities or what. Sometimes SSD cache drives are marketed by their usable capacity (sold as a "30GB" cache drive when it has 60GB of raw capacity).

    Anyway, I'm curious about something. It says that both reads and writes are cached. But I've read elsewhere that the data is all redundant, anything in the flash is also on the platter(s). Well, it's not fully redundant if you have to wait for the disk to catch up. I guess the risk isn't really significant if the software/driver running the whole show is intelligent enough.
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - link

    Not sure how I feel about this variable cache size on the drive... doesn't sound so good to me.
  • piroroadkill - Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - link

    Yeah, it's a bit dodgy.
    Also, do we really need that extra 2mm and sacrifice standard interfacing?
    The 7mm 1TB sounds more interesting, and should have a standard interface.
    7mm 1TB with a 30GB very fast cache and a SATA3 interface at a price point close to 1TB laptop drives anyway - that sounds like a marketable product.

    They just need to do it right. None of this random cache size nonsense, and the cache has to be meaningfully fast.
  • Wolfpup - Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - link

    Yeah, I want normal sized drives. Seagate's Momentus XT is really awesome, and I trust Seagate's drives more, but still I've very excited to see how a normal sized WD performs, and whether the larger cache helps.

    I'm REALLY impressed by how the 4GB cache helps on the first Momentus XT...WAY more than you'd probably think, thanks to a smart controller (my XT and SSDs feel more alike than my XT and a normal drive). The new 8GB version would of course be better still. Also Seagate uses SLC, which makes sense for something being rewritten constantly, but still, I'm excited to see this!
  • Xajel - Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - link

    Wonder why makers doesn't make a 2n1 drive that is have separated SSD and HDD but in the same package, the SSD should be 120-256GB for the OS, and the HDD should be 500-1TB for the data... it could have two separate SATA connectors one one connector with built-in SATA splitter... While Hybrid drives are very nice and has much faster performance compared to normal HDD, they can't compete against the performance of separated SSD + HDD... or at least make the hybrid with more 500MB/s R+W NAND, 120GB minimum...
  • amikey - Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - link

    I actually think this is a good idea, and if it were on one connector would negate the need for us to have two separate storage devices.

    Mass market appeal though? Probably not.

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