by Brian Beeler

Toshiba MQ01ABDH Hybrid Hard Drive Announced

Toshiba has announced the MQ01ABDH series of hybrid hard drives, bringing them in line now with Seagate who has been shipping hybrids for over two years and WD who recently threw their hat into the hybrid ring as well. Toshiba's offering is based around the MQ01AB 2.5" hard drive platform which features dual 500GB platters, 5400 RPM spindle speed and a standard 9.5mm drive height. Toshiba will offer the hybrids in 750GB (MQ01ABDH 075)and 1TB (MQ01ABDH 100) capacities, each paired with 8GB of non-volatile 32nm SLC NAND for read and write caching. 

Like other caching solutions, Toshiba has an algorithm that is host system OS independent which determines which data is frequently accessed and thus deemed appropriate for the flash cache. As an individual user continues using their system, the cache is adjusted perpetually refreshing the cache with hot data during idle drive time.

Toshiba has also figured out write caching for this solution, which is somewhat unique in this class of caching product. Seagate promised write caching at the launch of their second generation Momentus XT, but has not yet been able to deliver. Like the Momentus XT, the Toshiba MQ01ABDH comes in the same form factor and uses the same 8GB of SLC cache, though Toshiba tops out at 1TB, 250GB more than the largest Momentus XT. By way of comparison, the recently announced WD hybrid only comes in a single 500GB capacity, but leverages a thinner 5mm single platter design and cheaper MLC NAND for the cache. 

The MQ01ABDH is just the start for Toshiba hybrid hard drives. Toshiba sees the hybrid space as an emerging category, hence the starting point of offering a standard form factor with large capacity to meet the needs of mainstream computing users. While Toshiba didn't comment directly on where they'll go next with hybrids, it seems plausible that they'll enhance their offerings next with solutions for smaller ultra-portable and embedded use cases. 

Toshiba MQ01ABDH Specifications

  • Capacities
    • 1TB - MQ1ABD075H
    • 750GB - MQ01ABD100H
  • 2 platter design
  • Areal density (max)
    • 750GB - 858.1 Mb/mm2
    • 1TB - 1153.4Mb/mm2
  • Average seek time - 12 ms
  • Rotational speed - 5400 RPM
  • Buffer memory - 32 MB
    NAND Flash Size - 8GB SLC
  • Interface - Serial ATA 3.0 (ATA-8)
  • Dimensions - 69.85 mm x 100.0 mm x 9.5 mm
  • Weight - 117 g (max)
  • Shock resistance:
    • Operating: 3,920m/s2 (400G) 2ms
    • Non-operating: 8,820m/s2 (900G) 1ms
  • Acoustics:
    • Idle (average): 23dB
    • Seek (average): 24dB

Pricing and Availability
The Toshiba MQ01ABDH series starts as an OEM product and will be found in several notebook PC configurations from leading manufacturers starting Q4 this year. A bare drive version may be available in 2013. 

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UPDATE 07/26/13 - Toshiba SSHD Review - POSTED