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Speed and Storage: Toshiba Outs Its First Hybrid Hard Drives

Modern day hard drive shoppers find themselves with a not-so-easy choice: should you go for the blazing fast boot and response times of an SSD, or the much larger storage capacity (and much lower cost) of a traditional mechanical hard drive? Toshiba's new MQ01ABDH Hybrid Drive mixes the best of both worlds in a single drive bay.

The 2.5-inch MQ01ABDH Hybrid Drive is a mechanical hard drive with 8GB of baked-in NAND flash to speed up the operation of your most frequently used programs, which are automatically identified by Toshiba's self-learning cache software. SATA 3.0 compatibility ensures that transfer speeds won't bottle neck the NAND-enhanced speeds.

Those faster speeds are offset by a relatively pokey mechanical hard drive, though. The Toshiba MQ01ABDH Hybrid Drive's platters spin at 5,400 RPM, slower than the 7,200 RPM speed that's standard in most current models -- including the Toshiba's MQ01ABDH's chief rival, Seagate's Momentus XT line of hybrid drives. Western Digital, another big fish in the mechanical HDD pond, announced earlier this month that it's testing out hybrid drives of its own.

Toshiba hasn't released any pricing information, but it did divulge that both 1TB and 750GB models of the MQ01ABDH Hybrid will be available in select notebooks just in time for the holiday rush.