[CES 2011] Marvell is introducing the Marvell 88SE9130, a new hard drive controller that features HyperDuo, a technology from Marvell that basically merges an Solid State Drive (SSD) and a classic Hard Disk Drive (HDD) into a single logical unit. The idea is to dramatically improve the performance by automatically putting performance-critical files on the SSD to benefit from the ultra-fast performance, while leaving the less frequently accessed data on the larger HDD storage.

To the user, the setup simply looks like one drive, that can be accessed, managed and backed-up just like a regular drive. Marvell has partnered with component makers and computer makers to have this pre-installed in new computers. Hobbyists who want to build their own setup can buy a kit that includes an add-on card with the 88SE9130. The 88SE9130 will be available for the PC refresh of the spring in Q1 2011.

To be clear, this technology is not using the SSD as a “cache” (a temporary, faster storage). Files that reside on the SSD, do not reside on the HDD. Files are not split at the “block-level” (file chunks) between the two drives.

Marvell HyperDuo PCI-EWhy not simply use two drives… as two drives? Marvell and computer makers believe that customers prefer to manage a single drive. For advanced users, there is a utility that allows the selection of “hot files” (those that need to be on the SSD). It is also possible to enable a mode where critical files are duplicated, in case of a disaster.

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