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By | Chris Mellor 7th November 2011 13:53

Drive chip biz warns of flash-disk hybrid boom

'Most' HDD makers will follow Seagate's lead

Marvell, the main supplier of disk drive controller system chips, says most disk drive vendors will have hybrid flash-disk products in a few months.

Marvell ships SoCs (system-on-chip) to the hard disk drive (HDD) vendors and reckons it has about 60 per cent of the market. It also ships SoCs for solid-state drives – such as its DragonFly product – and is involved in firmware developments for both markets.

Marvel has a HyperDuo 88SE9130 controller chip that combines in one 6Gbit/s SATA interface controller with caching algorithms to put hot data and file directories in the SSD, with bulk data kept on the hard disk.

Aaron Rakers of Stifel Nicolaus attended an investors' conference last week at which Marvell presented. Marvell said: "[referring to] the incorporation of Flash in the HDD ... most all of the HDD vendors will have this over the coming months."

Rakers writes: "[Marvell] announced that it is shipping hybrid solutions currently and that multiple new solutions would be introduced in 2012."

Up until now only Seagate with its Momentus XT has a HDD with an added flash cache. Its Barracuda desktop drives are going to get a flash hybrid variant.

None of the other HDD vendors – Hitachi GST (being bought by Western Digital), Samsung (being bought by Seagate), Toshiba, or Western Digital - have hybrid product.

Taking Marvell at its word, there are five HDD suppliers currently and we'd suggest "most of" means three or four of them but not five. Toshiba could be the hold-out and WD/Hitachi GST might introduce hybrid flash-HDD product within the next few months. ®

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