It’s new HyDrive by Hitachi-LG.HyDrive landing in August…
Hitachi-LG outed most of the major details for its forthcoming HyDrive last week, but the company just officially took the wraps off the world’s first SSD-equipped laptop optical drive. Frankly, it’s sort of astounding it took this long for such an obvious idea to come to fruition, but now that we’re here, we fully expect other outfits to follow suit.
Put simply, the HyDrive is a standard form factor optical drive (DVD burner or Blu-ray will be available), but there’s a 32GB or 64B SSD (not just a strip of NAND, we’re told) tucked below. When this gets stuffed within a laptop, you’re immediately able to access an optical drive, an SSD (for your operating system and critical launch applications) and a spacious HDD for storing music, media, etc.
Previously, this type of three-drive arrangement was only available in beastly Clevo’s and the like, but this solution is obviously tailor made for even ODD-equipped ultraportables. Another plus to the HyDrive is the integrated Defect Management technology, which essentially caches information from scratched discs (DVDs, namely) in order to play the content back sans jitters.
If all goes well, the first HyDrive will ship in August 2010 (in South Korea; globally in September) within the 102 Series of Moneual HTPCs, though second-generation devices will scale all the way to 256GB. Other future plans are to slim the HyDrive down and possibly shove it within a netbook, set-top box or tablet (yeah, they name dropped the iPad and HP Slate here at their Computex press briefing), and there’s also plans to move from SATA 3Gbps to SATA 6Gbps in due time. Of note, the very first generation will measure in at 12.7mm thick, and we’re told that it won’t fit into most conventional laptops; instead, it’ll be aimed at small form factor (SFF) PCs, HTPCs and other mid-tower desktops. In March 2011, however, Hitachi-LG will be embedding the SSD within the PCB assembly, enabling it to reach a 9.5mm height (and thus, a much larger target market). ASUS has also announced plans to cram the HyDrive into some of its own machines, with the Eee Top all-in-one desktop line getting ’em first and the N61DA laptop getting the slimmer second generation edition.
PC makers will hop onboard here — there’s not likely to be too much of a price hike, and the benefits in terms of overall performance and system flexibility will surely appeal to the technophile crowd. Speaking of MSRPs, the company wouldn’t reveal individual stickers, noting that OEM agreements prevented that kind of disclosure. It did say that an average thin-and-light priced at $649 sans an SSD would likely be priced at $849 with a HyDrive, shedding light on an estimated $200 uptick in price with a lower-level HyDrive in place. We asked if retail sales were being considered, and were told that it was “a possibility” for future years (but it wasn’t going to happen in 2010).
During the Q&A, we also learned that Hitachi-LG wouldn’t be targeting Blu-ray HyDrives within netbooks (expected), but that DVD-equipped versions would be ideal for lower-cost laptops, tablets and slates of the future. In case you’re wondering, both slot-load and tray-style models will eventually ship. Hit the gallery below for a slide-by-slide look at today’s Computex unveiling… if you’re into that type of thing, that is.