We expect to see many more hybrid hard drives arriving in 2013. Seagate and Samsung were first to market with these devices, which combine a large cache of flash memory with a moderate-size mechanical drive. The hybrids deliver some of the speed of a solid-state drive as well as the voluminous capacity of a conventional hard drive. Both Western Digital and Toshiba plan to enter this market. WD has not disclosed its plans in detail, but Toshiba has announced that it will offer a 1TB hybrid drive outfitted with 8GB of flash--enough memory to load an operating system and frequently used files.
Hard drive prices will likely remain high through the year--the industry is still recovering from the mass flooding in Thailand that damaged much of its production capacity. At the same time, the prices for true SSDs will continue to fall, as production of 20nm NAND flash ramps up. --Mike Brown