Hitachi-LG's hybrid Blu-ray/SSD drive gets smaller

Hitachi-LG Data Storage has updated its hybrid drive combining a Blu-ray Disc optical drive with a flash memory-based solid-state disc, to give it higher performance and make it a better fit inside laptops.

A prototype Hitachi-LG hybrid drive goes on display at the Ceatec show in Japan.

The drive combines a Blu-ray Disc optical disc drive with flash memory that acts as an SSD. It’s targeted at computers where space is at a premium and is designed to supplement a traditional hard-disk drive. In such a configuration the SSD is typically used for the operating system and applications, while other data resides on the hard disk.

A first-generation drive was introduced earlier this year at the Computex electronics show in Taipei. That drive was essentially an SSD crammed into the same case as an optical disc drive and resulted in the two drives each having their own interface cable.

In the new drive they’ve been integrated onto a single circuit board and share a common 6Gbps SATA III connector.

The integration has enabled Hitachi-LG to shrink the hybrid drive to the size of a standard laptop drive. To demonstrate, the company was showing a Hewlett-Packard dv6z laptop with its original drive replaced with one of the new hybrid drives.

The new drive will be available in SSD capacities between 8GB and 256GB and is scheduled to be available in May 2011. Hitachi-LG did not announce a price.

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