Hitachi-LG outed most of the major details for its forthcoming HyDrive last week, but the company just officially took the wraps off the world's first SSD-equipped laptop optical drive. Frankly, it's sort of astounding it took this long for such an obvious idea to come to fruition, but now that we're here, we fully expect other outfits to follow suit. Put simply, the HyDrive is a standard form factor optical drive (DVD burner or Blu-ray will be available), but there's a 32GB or 64GB SSD (not just a strip of NAND, we're told) tucked below. When this gets stuffed within a laptop, you're immediately able to access an optical drive, an SSD (for your operating system and critical launch applications) and a spacious HDD for storing music, media, etc. Previously, this type of three-drive arrangement was only available in beastly Clevo's and the like, but this solution is obviously tailor made for even ODD-equipped ultraportables. Another plus to the HyDrive is the integrated Defect Management technology, which essentially caches information from scratched discs (DVDs, namely) in order to play the content back sans jitters.

More after the break...
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Hitachi-LG HyDrive hands-on at Computex 2010



If all goes well, the first HyDrive will ship in August 2010 (in South Korea; globally in September) within the 102 Series of Moneual HTPCs, though second-generation devices will scale all the way to 256GB. Other future plans are to slim the HyDrive down and possibly shove it within a netbook, set-top box or tablet (yeah, they name dropped the iPad and HP Slate here at their Computex press briefing), and there's also plans to move from SATA 3Gbps to SATA 6Gbps in due time. Of note, the very first generation will measure in at 12.7mm thick, and we're told that it won't fit into most conventional laptops; instead, it'll be aimed at small form factor (SFF) PCs, HTPCs and other mid-tower desktops. In March 2011, however, Hitachi-LG will be embedding the SSD within the PCB assembly, enabling it to reach a 9.5mm height (and thus, a much larger target market). ASUS has also announced plans to cram the HyDrive into some of its own machines, with the Eee Top all-in-one desktop line getting 'em first and the N61DA laptop getting the slimmer second generation edition.

We aren't generally the betting type, but it seems safe to assume that a whole slew of other PC makers will hop onboard here -- there's not likely to be too much of a price hike, and the benefits in terms of overall performance and system flexibility will surely appeal to the technophile crowd. Speaking of MSRPs, the company wouldn't reveal individual stickers, noting that OEM agreements prevented that kind of disclosure. It did say that an average thin-and-light priced at $649 sans an SSD would likely be priced at $849 with a HyDrive, shedding light on an estimated $200 uptick in price with a lower-level HyDrive in place. We asked if retail sales were being considered, and were told that it was "a possibility" for future years (but it wasn't going to happen in 2010).

During the Q&A, we also learned that Hitachi-LG wouldn't be targeting Blu-ray HyDrives within netbooks (expected), but that DVD-equipped versions would be ideal for lower-cost laptops, tablets and slates of the future. In case you're wondering, both slot-load and tray-style models will eventually ship. Hit the gallery below for a slide-by-slide look at today's Computex unveiling... if you're into that type of thing, that is.
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Hitachi-LG HyDrive Computex presentation




Show full PR text
HLDS to launch world first Solid State Drive embedded Optical Disc Drive.

Shown to boost PC performance in boot time, multi-tasking and movie play back.

Taipei, Taiwan, May 31st , 2010


Hitachi-LG Data Storage Inc. (HLDS), a global leader and technology innovator in optical disc storage (ODD), today announced HyDrive®, the world's first solid state drive (SSD) embedded ODD. HyDrive® is going to be available in August 2010, installed on the Family PC 102 series from Moneual.

The SSD capacity will be 32GB and 64GB for the 1st generation and up to 256GB with the 2nd generation, which will be ready for mass production in March 2011 and have even faster SSD performance moving from SATA3.0Gbps to the SATA6.0Gbps interface.

HyDrive performance stands to reach its full potential on performance notebooks such as the ASUS N61DA, delivering data handling capabilities currently unavailable to consumers worldwide.

HyDrive® enables a total storage solution on the PC using the advantages of three storage device types – conventional hard drives, solid state drives and optical drives - without added space on the motherboard and modification of system architecture limited to replacing the existing ODD. Only HyDrive® enables this through an identical framework to that used in conventional ODDs.

"We are very excited about the potential of this ground-breaking product", says HLDS CMO YK Park. "The PC industry have come to expect us to lead in optical storage products and HyDrive is the logical next step, where it offers user benefits to PC booting, shutdown and application loading times with typically 30~60% reduction in addition to robust media handling and playback."

HyDrive® offers hard disk drive (HDD) performance boosting in two ways.
One is through using the entire SSD as a cache by the HLDS filter driver. The other is by having Windows and Microsoft Office applications installed and the remaining capacity serve as a cache.


Having 32GB of SSD suffices in accommodating Windows and Microsoft Office applications, offering consumers the enjoyment and stress-free experience of PC usage with pure SSD speeds.


HyDrive® also enables a smaller PC foot print (7-9"tablet PCs such as the Ultra Mobile PC, for example) by removing the HDD or SSD from the motherboard and just having HyDrive® with its SSD as primary storage.

HyDrive® can offer users 30-60% faster booting, shutdown and application loading on the optimized hardware of the ASUS N61DA.

Other great features have been developed for a combination of ODD and SSD benefits, such as robust media readability which differentiates readability and playability of data, audio or movie discs from other ODDs in the market, using the dedicated burning feature. It provides smooth and seamless playback even of discs in poor condition due to scratches and fingerprints.

Much more to come with the next generation HyDrive®

HLDS have been working with their partners AMD, ASUS and Moneual to achieve a successful market launch.

"AMD's latest 8-series chipsets have both the required hardware and driver support for HyDrive, including SATA port multiplier support, which enables combined optical and solid state functionality in the HLDS HyDrive", said AMD's Niles Burbank, Senior Product Manager for AMD's Platform Solutions.


Moneual will deliver the very first launch of HyDrive® through their Family PC in August 2010, showcasing home theater quality performance.

ASUS plans to launch the 1st generation HyDrive on their Eee Top range, and the 2nd generation HyDrive global debut on the N61DA notebook after testing HLDS samples.

HyDrive is a trademark of Hitachi-LG Data Storage, Inc. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

About Hitachi-LG Data Storage

Hitachi-LG Data Storage, Inc.(HLDS), a joint venture of Hitachi Ltd. and LG Electronics Inc., has been maintaining Global No.1 position in the world optical storage market since its establishment in 2001.

Based on the source technology from Hitachi Ltd. and the application technology from LG Electronics, Inc., creating technical synergy effect between each other, HLDS has been able to become world's leading company in the optical storage industry.
Also, due to its powerful market leadership, HLDS was able to maintain No.1 global market share for 9 consecutive years its establishment.
HLDS is still in its challenge to become the new "Total Storage Solution Provider" in the market by extending its business area to new storage devices such as NAS (Network Attached Storage) while also strengthening the existing optical storage leadership through cutting edge technology, strong marketing power and enhanced service structure for DVD-Rewriter, Blu-Ray/DVD-W Combination Drive, Blu-Ray Rewriter etc.

About ASUS

ASUS is a leading company in the new digital era, with a broad product portfolio that includes notebooks, netbooks, motherboards, graphics cards, displays, desktop PCs, servers, wireless solutions, mobile phones and networking devices. Driven by innovation and committed to quality, ASUS designs and manufactures products that perfectly meet the needs of today's home and office users. ASUS won 3,268 awards in 2009, and is widely credited with revolutionizing the PC industry with the Eee PC™. With a global staff of more than 10,000 and a world-class R&D design team, the company's revenue for 2009 was US$7.5 billion. ASUS ranks among BusinessWeek's InfoTech 100, and has been on the listing for 12 consecutive years.

About AMD

Advanced Micro Devices is an innovative technology company dedicated to collaborating with customers and technology partners to ignite the next generation of computing and graphics solutions at work, home and play. For more information, visit www.amd.com