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Hybrid hard drive boosts notebook PC performance

A hybrid hard drive demonstrated by Samsung at Microsoft’s WinHec hardware developers conference last week could herald more efficient notebook computers.

Samsung’s drive aims to significantly reduce the boot time of a PC, as well as improve performance. It features solid state flash memory as well as traditional hard drive platters and uses several Windows Vista facilities designed to enhance system performance.

One is Super Fetch, which stores at least 1Gbyte of frequently accessed data in flash memory, and possibly more.

Another feature is Ready¬drive, which takes advantage of hybrid hard disc technology.

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said Super Fetch eliminates bottlenecks caused by repeatedly returning to the disc for information.

“Non-volatile memory allows us to improve performance fairly dramatically in lots of cases, and even reduce power by letting the disc spin down when we are able to get the storage mostly off of that Ram/non-volatile memory combination,” he said.

One disadvantage of the hybrid drives are that the price per gigabyte of a solid state hard drive is about 30 times higher than that of a traditional hard drive. In addition, its capacity is currently limited to about 30Gbytes.

Microsoft tool aims to avoid Vista security clashes

A tool to help developers ensure their software does not clash with security features in Windows Vista was unveiled at last week’s WinHec conference.

The Standard User Analyser tool helps developers write programs that will work with Vista’s User Account Control (UAC) feature, which enables a PC to run with fewer user privileges to help improve security.

During its early testing of Vista, Microsoft found that half of the test programs it ran with the operating system could not cope with the UAC feature.

The company said it aims to make sure the stumbling blocks are removed before the operating system is released in November.


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