Friday, January 2, 2009

MSI Wind U115: Can Hybrid Storage boost Netbook Performance?

MSI announced the Wind U115 as the first netbook with hybrid storage. According to MSI, the hybrid storage should significantly boost netbook performace and extend battery time.
Hybrid storage isn't new to the laptop world, the major news is that so far "hybrid storage" was mainly pointing to hard disks that included a flash memory as well. The hybrid hard disks that I saw so far show (if at all) a very small (less than 5%) performance and battery boost. This is probably due to the fact that the included flash memory aren't big and fast enough, if I well remember current hybrid drives include less than 1GB flash. This is far too less to see major improvements.
MSI Wind U115 is equipped with 8GB flash (SDD) and a 120GB "traditional" hard disk. I think that this solution has really potential, the only questions I have are:

1) how fast is the included SDD? A slow SDD will kill performance
2) how smart is the device driver? Microsoft ReadyDrive shows only disappointing results so far. the drivers seem to be very rudimental. However microsoft isn't alone: a russian company is working at a solution (eBoostr) working on Windows XP as well.

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