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Mcell adds RAM to accelerate hard drives

By Simon Aughton

Posted on 6 Sep 2007 at 13:40

While solid state drives remain expensive, there's little most of us can do to decrease the time it takes to read and write data on a PC.

However, a Japanese company has arrived at a solution which, while appearing obvious, doesn't seem to have been tried before.

DTS has taken a 2.5in hard drive of the kind normally found in a laptop, added 1GB of of DDR2 RAM, a realtime operating system and a CPU, put the ensemble into a standard 3.5in desktop drive casing, and called it the Mcell.

According to DTS the combination of the physically smaller drive and the 1GB of memory means that an Mcell can shift data at up to 110MB/sec; compare that to the 60MB/sec for a typical 7,200rpm SATA drive.

Unfortunately there is as yet no indication that DTS plans to sell the 80, 120 and 160GB drives outside of Japan, though it may get better-known hard disk manufacturers thinking.

A number have already introduced hybrid drives that combine NAND flash storage of the kind found in a USB drive or an iPod.

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