Hybrid Drive - Inherent Drawbacks

Inherent Drawbacks

There are some inherent drawbacks to the use of hybrid drives:

  • Lower performance (access time) for non-cached data. If the data being accessed is not in the cache and the drive has spun down, access time will be greatly increased since the platters will need to spin up.
  • Lower performance for small disk writes. Flash memory is significantly slower for writing small data, an effect that is amplified by use of journaling file systems.
  • Slightly increased cost. Hybrid hard drives are currently slightly more expensive than their non-hybrid counterparts, because of the higher cost of flash memory.
  • Reduced lifetime. A hard drive, once spinning, suffers almost no wear. A significant proportion of wear arises during the spin-up and spin-down processes. Indeed, the number of spin-ups is often given as the indication of the lifetime of a hard drive. Also, flash memory allows far fewer write cycles than a hard disk.
  • Increased perceived noise production. A hybrid hard drive, spinning up and down, may make drive noise more noticeable, especially with varying usage conditions (i.e., fans and hard drive spinning up on usage).
  • Increased power usage with spin-ups. A hybrid drive requires spin-up and spin-down more often than a normal hard drive, which is often spinning constantly. Hard drives also draw more power during spin-up.
  • Lower recoverability. Hybrid hard drives, based on storage to both a flash component and a hard drive component, and bound to use by a specific OS (i.e., Windows Vista). Data recovery often requires specialized data recovery services which are expensive, and sometimes the data stored within the NAND flash may be unrecoverable. A traditional hard drive can be tapped with a hammer or placed in the freezer, often getting it running long enough for do-it-yourself recovery.

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