HyDrive SSD optical combo announced at Computex

Hitachi-LG Data Storage has just unveiled their new HyDrive series combination solid-state drive/optical drive line at Computex 2010. The 12.7mm thick drive merges a tray or slot-loading optical drive, DVD or Blu-ray, and a 32 or 64 GB SSD.

In addition to space savings, these new combo drives are reportedly able to speed up boot, shutdown, and application load times anywhere from 30 to 60 percent when the operating system and applications are stored on the SSD portion. The SSD area, however, can function as either a large cache area or a combination area for optical drive cache and high speed data storage.

The optical drive portion of the HyDrive will perform at the following speeds:

Blu-ray – 4.8x 21.6MB/sec
DVD – 8x 11MB/sec
CD – up to 24x 3.6MB/sec

DVD – up to 8x 11MB/sec
CD – 24x 3.6MB/sec.

The HyDrive has a 3Gbt/s SATA interface with a 6Gbit/s SATA interface planned for the 2nd generation launch next year.

For the consumer PC market debut of the HyDrive, Hitachi-LG has partnered with AMD, ASUS and Moneual to ship equipped PCs beginning with the Moneual Family PC MN 102-O in August of 2010. Asus plans on offering the 1st generation Hydrive in upcoming models of their Eee Top series PCs.

With an even-thinner 9.5mm version on track to be released next Summer, the HyDrive should begin showing up in notebook & tablet devices as well. As it evolves, the design should lend itself to allow tablet, netbook and notebook manufacturers to include optical drives in models where there was previously not enough room. ASUS is tentatively planning on debuting the 2nd generation HyDrive in their N61DA notebooks, but is still needs to conduct sample testing.

If you like the sound of the HyDrive, expect to pay about $200 more for a PC that comes equipped with one. That will be the only way to get a hold of one for a while, as there is currently no word on plans to release the HyDrive for the consumer upgrade market.

This fusion of different drives is definitely an interesting development in the storage industry. Seagate also recently unveiled an HDD/SSD combo drive.