What is SSHD (Solid State Hybrid Drive)? (Explained)

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What is SSHD (Solid State Hybrid Drive)?

SSHD, a short for Solid State Hybrid Drive, refers to a traditional Hard Disk Drive and Solid State Drive combined in one single drive.

The spinning hard drive is adapted to accommodate a fast solid state cache memory in the enclosure which also has an extra firmware to manage the caching CPU.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The design of the SSHD makes the operating system think that it is a single drive while actually it is two combined in one. The SSD part of the SSHD is considered as the cache.
  • Using an SSHD will not need you to decide where to store the files because the firmware of the driver will take care of that by allocating data to the SSD and HDD accordingly.
  • The features and design of the SSHD allow it to operate at a much higher speed than an SSD in isolation. The read and write speed of the SSHD typically is between 131 MB/s and 139 MB/s.
  • Using SSHD is beneficial for both businesses and individuals since it offers significant cost gains and can meet all their computing demands.
  • Available in 7 mm and 9 mm in height, these drives can last much longer than a traditional SSD based on the TBW or Terabytes of data Written.

Understanding SSHD (Solid State Hybrid Drive)

What is SSHD

The SSHDs that are also sometimes referred to as the hybrid hard drives offer the performance of a Solid State Drive in terms of speed, as well as the mechanical hard drives or the Hard Disk Drives in terms of storage capacity offered.

This means that the SSHDs are bigger than the SSDs and are faster than the HDDs.

These drives actually drive the cache data automatically in the SSD storage which enhances the speed at which you can access the files that you use most often.

It is mainly the storage controller that is built inside the hybrid drive that determines what type of data should be stored where in order to offer optimal performance.

Talking about the performance of the hybrid drives, it is the amount of the flash cache that will determine the performance.

This means that, the larger is the size of the flash cache, the more data can be stored there and can be accessed quickly.

However, this will also increase the price of it at the same time.

In an SSHD, the SSD portion typically stores those specific programs, system files, and application data that typically contribute to the speed of the system and benefit from it.

This space is usually small.

On the other hand, the bigger mechanical drive portion is typically used to store the necessary files for a long time but which are not accessed frequently or quickly, such as a photo collection file or a large media file.

Therefore, the hybrid drives can be referred to as traditional mechanical drives that also come with a specific amount of solid state storage.

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However, in spite of having two different types of storage types in one single drive, the hybrid drives typically appear to be a single drive to the operating system.

The good thing about this design is that you do not have to decide personally which files to store where.

Instead, it is the firmware of the driver that decides what will be stored in the SSD part and what goes to the HDD portion.

That is why the SSD portion of an SSHD is considered as the cache.

A little bit of the working process of the SSHD when explained will make things much clearer to you.

It is the adaptive algorithm, or the step by step instructions, that help the SSHD to manage its memory and its usage.

When you start using an SSHD, it is this particular algorithm that will keep a track of how frequently you access a particular file, program, or data on the HDD part of the storage.

Depending on its observation it will direct the cache to store those files in it temporarily.

These files and data therefore go to the SSD part of the storage naturally and automatically.

This means that, when you access the specific data or file or program next time the SSHD storage will allow the system to access it from the SSD or cache portion.

That means the HDD will not have to be used and the platters on it will not have to spin again and again when you want to access the specific data every time.

Since one of the most frequently used or accessed data or files will be that of the operating systems, this, when accessed quickly from the SSD portion of the SSHD, will result in much faster booting of the computer system eventually on the whole.

As a result, when the SSHD completes booting the computer for the first time from the SSD storage part, quite naturally the succeeding booting will also be much faster.

The same thing also happens when your system needs to load a game or stream a video, or work on or read a document simply but more often.

When you perform any of these tasks on your computer next time, all of them will load and work much faster.

This is because all of these things will be fetched by the SSHD drive from the SSD portion of it in a very short time.

It is due to the usefulness of the SSHDs, especially in terms of their design apart from their working process that allows using them in the laptops.

The good thing is that you install them in both old and new laptop computers.

This is because, though the SSHDs look very much like the conventional Hard Disk Drives, these come with similar connections or interfaces with HDD or SSD.

Typically, the SSHDs are designed with a SATA interface which allows using them in all types of computers, old or new.

In that sense, the SSHDs are 100% compatible and that will not reduce its performance even by an iota.

The design and features of the SSHDs typically offer reasonably high read and write speeds which usually range anywhere from 131 MB/s and up to 139 MB/s.

This is actually for those standard hybrid drives that typically come with a Solid State Drive with a data holding capacity of up to 8 GB and an HDD portion which is as large as 2 TB.

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On the other hand, several benchmark tests also found that a traditional SSD with a storage space of 240 GB clocked an average read and write speed of 428 MB/s and 376 MB/s respectively.

With respect to these benchmarks the SSHDs are therefore considered to be much faster than the HDDs but quite slow in comparison to the SSDs.

However, these speeds of the SSHDs are according to different benchmarks and test results that you should know and also verify with when you want to use an SSHD storage drive.

This will allow you to know how fast the drive can open data or save it in the SSD or HDD part of it and whether or not it will be able to meet all your computing needs, especially related to storing of files and data.

In addition to that, knowing the answers to these following questions will also help you a great deal in making your final decision.

What is SSHD for?

To put it in simple words, an SSHD is designed for offering the users a combination of HDD and an SSD.

The HDD portion offers larger storage space and the SSD part reduces the boot times and allows accessing the stored files in it much more quickly.

Therefore, an SSHD hybrid device can be used for having optimal solutions for both storage space and speed, both on the higher side, while keeping things well within the budget of the users.

The hybrid drives are therefore good for both the individuals as well as the businesses since its specs meet all their respective needs and offer huge cost benefits at the same time.

It is a very good alternative storage for data that is suitable for the needs of most of the users.

 Why is SSHD Special?

The unique aspect of the hybrid drives is its design, which, as said earlier, has a larger mechanical drive for storing data as well as a solid state drive with smaller storage space.

This not only makes it special in its design but also a much cheaper storage option as compared to a typical SSD with less storage.

For example, a hybrid storage drive with 2 TB HDD and 8 GB of SSD cache memory will cost you more than a typical 2 TB HDD but will cost you much less than a 256 GB SSD in spite of its lower space.

The main objective of the manufacturers of the SSHDs is to offer the users with a speed of an SSD at low cost but with high overall storage space.

Also, in spite of consisting of two different drives in one, this is a single physical drive.

Therefore, you can use it easily in a laptop that comes with a single bay but still get both, a speed like an SSD and storage space like an HDD.

Apart from that, it is the adaptive technology used by the hybrid drives for memory management that makes them so special as well as durable than SSD and HDD both.

Can You Use SSHD on a Laptop?

Yes, you can because the SSHDs typically fit in well within the casing of the laptop.

However, please note that any and every type of hybrid drive may not fit into your laptop.

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This is because these drives come in two sizes, or heights to be more precise, such as 7 mm and 9 mm.

Therefore, if your particular laptop does not have enough space, upgrading it with a 9 mm hybrid drive will not be possible, no matter how desperately you want it to.

How Long Does an SSHD Last?

If you are worried about how long the hybrid drives will be in the market, rest assured that it will not go out of it anytime soon.

It provides and will continue to provide the benefits of both the worlds of SSD and HDD for quite a long time from now.

Moreover, an average computer user will not need a large storage space of say 2 TB usually on their desktop PCs or laptop computers.

They would prefer a smaller SSD instead to both store their files and have a faster performance as well at the same time.

Since the SSHDs offer them both, these will continue to be favorite storage options among the users for a long, long time.

Add to that, these hybrid drives are cheaper in comparison to a typical SSD.

Therefore, unless the prices of the traditional Solid State Drives decline, which is less likely to happen anytime soon, you can rely on the SSHD as a dependable and a long lasting storage option.

Still, if you believe more in figures, it can be said that, as compared to the SSDs, the hybrid drives are considered to be much more durable and long lasting.

Typically, the lifespan of the SSDs are calculated on the number of Terabytes of data Written, or TBW, on it.

Based on that calculation, the SSDs that are available today in the market are expected to last for nearly 10 years.

This is simple math. Ideally, the SSDs are typically rated at 320 TBW.

This means that if you keep on rewriting on an SSD with 100 GB of data every day, it will take nearly 8.8 years to complete writing 320 TBW of data. And, this is highly unlikely to be done by any user.

Therefore, the SSHDs will last much longer than that.

Are SSHD Reliable?

Yes, it is. Typically, the design of the SSHDs uses similar aspects of both SSD and HDDs and uses both the flash and HDD portions much more proficiently than if these were used in isolation.

It is one of the primary reasons to believe that the SSHDs are very reliable.

Conclusion

It may be a very tough decision to take when you need to upgrade the storage of your computer given the fact that you should be able to get the maximum capacity and faster storage that fits in your budget.

Well, this article proves that the SSHDs will be the best option in that case.