Samsung will be demonstrating a prototype of the first hybrid hard drive next week at WinHEC. Hybrid hard drives use flash memory to enable boot and resume operations to execute twice as fast, and save on battery life at the same time.
Hybrid hard drives eliminate the need for the disk to spin continuously, which would contribute to a longer usable life as well as less risk of data loss from dropping or jarring. This is due to the NAND flash memory acting as a cache.
Either a 128MB or 256MB cache would act as the first step in storing data. The hard disk would only need to spin to save data when this cache is filled, roughly once every 10 to 20 minutes. The cache could also assist in allowing a PC to boot quicker.
Windows Vista will take full advantage of the hybrid hard drive and I expect we’ll see these drives appear in a lot of Vista-capable mobile computers after Vista ships.