Hybrid-HDD or Embedded NAND in PCs: IDC Finds No Clear Winner

The landscape for technology suppliers in the PC may be significantly disrupted by the impending launch of Microsoft's new operating system, Windows Vista, and its nonvolatile memory caching capabilities. As the launch is fast approaching, opposing PC hardware caching technologies, hybrid hard disk drives (H-HDDs) and alternative embedded NAND, are competing to deliver the preferred NAND caching solution to PC OEMs.

A new IDC report reveals that so far, neither the H-HDD nor embedded NAND technology convincingly realizes the potential of NAND caching and therefore, neither can be considered the clear winner. Attending to how NAND is adopted and who enables NAND caching technology will indicate how the shift in the long-term balance of power among the PC technology suppliers plays out. Further, emergence of NAND flash-based solid state disks could disrupt the brewing NAND caching technology battle.

"The HDD industry's unprecedented support and promotion of hybrid hard disk drive technology should help to build momentum for its adoption", said John Rydning, research manager for hard disk drives at IDC. "Nonetheless, hybrid disk drives face several challenging market and competitive dynamics."

"Nonvolatile NAND PC caching technology is in a nascent stage, and effective implementation is proving to be technically challenging", according to Shane Rau, program manager for PC Semiconductors at IDC. "Memory and hard drive suppliers could gain influence provided they are able to leverage NAND as part of an overall platform approach which positions their respective device technologies in the center of the platform."

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