Apple is Working On a New Drive that Combines HDDs and SSDs [Report]



Apple is working on a new type of drive that combines the best aspects of both traditional platter-based and flash storage. According to a recent patent published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, Apple has some innovate ideas up its sleeve for a SSD/HDD combo drive.

From Patently Apple:

“On September 29, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a next generation Hybrid Drive that includes both a hard drive and Flash. Intel will be pushing their Smart Response hybrid drive systems for consumer systems in 2012 and Apple’s patent would indicate that they intend to have their own solution for future hardware. Uniquely Apple’s twist to this drive is that it will handle different types of storage media based on an environmental state of the hybrid drive. If the drive undergoes temperature, vibration or acceleration variances that could cause the hard drive to temporarily fail, the system would save the volatile data to the Flash drive.”

If the system detects a possible compromise on the HDD part of the drive, data will be automatically reallocated to the SSD (kind of like how RAID technology works now, only smarter). Platter drives are much more susceptible to physical shocks, magnetization and extreme temperatures, so a modern SSD would offer an added layer of assurance and speed to the whole process.

Apple’s upcoming drives will be very smart and efficient. Being able to predict harmful circumstances will result in less drive failure and better performance overall.

Intel’s Smart Response hybrid drives will hopefully push Apple to get these new drives out on the market sooner rather than later. As SSDs go down in price, it will become financially easier to implement larger amounts of flash storage.

Be on the look out for these hybrid drives from Apple in 2012.

  • Immercify

    Thanks for the heads up! Yes, I stock your articles. Haha

  • techgeek01

    Um, isn’t this already out there?  I swore you can buy Hybrid drives just like this now……

  • MacRat

    Seagate Momentus XT brand for example.

  • gerenm63

    Seagate’s announced it already — in March of LAST YEAR.

  • Guest

    I have one of these already in my MBP. It’s amazing!

  • Guest

    Already installed a Seagate Momentus XT 500GB on my i5 13-inch Macpro… BLAZING FAST!!!
    The only “cons” (Not relevant AT ALL) I’ve encountered is a decrease in battery life, and you can hear a little whisper as the disc rotates at 7200rpm.  Recommended upgrade!

  • d_n

    Nothing beats the SSD in my MBA – you gotta use it to believe it.

  • imajoebob

    Hey! Maybe they can call it “nonvolatile RAM!”

  • SandisGrantins

    I have the exact same Momentus XT drive in my early 2008 15″ MBP. Speed improvement was noticeable, but I can’t say I’m happy. I rally dislike the added noise, even slight vibration on the palmrest above the drive. I plan to purchase SSD and use the Momentus as a startup drive in my PC tower.

  • SandisGrantins

    My next new computer will definitely be SSD-only. Speed, power eficiency and QUIETNESS. I like the new MBA, but I hope I can hold off until the completely redesigned MBP comes without the useless optical drive (literally haven’t used in years).

  • Alex

    I was just thinking the same thing … I’m very happy with my Momentus XT 

  • payam

    I have had it on my 2008 MBP for more than a year. Seagate Momentus XT 500GB, 7200rpm with 4GB SSD and 32MB cash memory. Upgraded the firmware from Seagate website, and it works great. The first generation of this HD had issues, but Seagate quickly fixed them with upgrades in firmware and the drive works great.

  • payam

    You have to go to Seagate website and upgrade the firmware. Follow the instructions for Mac users. It makes a huge difference.

  • Cold_dead_fingers

    When I saw the pic for the story I was like “NEW MAC PRO, NEW MAC PRO!!!! OHHHHH YEEEEAAAAAAH,” then I read the title and was like “doesn’t Intel already make those for the iMac?”

  • HerbalEd

    Except for price, what is the advantage of a hybrid vs. all SSD with no HDD?

  • SbMobile

    If they really do make this, I hope it’s as cheap as the one I have in my MBP right now. Knowing Apple, they’ll charge a killing! lol