Hitachi-LG has lifted the veil on an interesting new product called the HyDrive that combines an optical drive with embedded NAND flash memory functioning as an SSD. The idea is to pave the way for thin netbooks, tablets and ultraportables that can fit an optical drive without needing a second drive bay. HyDrive units will initially be available in 32GB and 64GB capacities, with up to 256GB and SATA III 6Gbps configurations coming next year.

In terms of performance, the SSD component has a peak read speed of 175MB/s and writes at a maximum of 60MB/s. The first-generation HyDrive products will come in 12.7mm thick form factors and will unfortunately not fit into most conventional laptops. Instead, they will be targeted towards HPTCs and other small form factor PCs, at least until they are shrunk down to 9.5mm thick next year by embedding the SSD component directly within the PCB assembly.

Hitachi says its hybrid drive will first be seen in August inside the Moneual Family PC 102. ASUS' N61DA notebook and future Eee Top all-in-ones will also feature the drive after testing is completed, and all of AMD's new 8-series system chipsets already support the technology. No pricing details or stand-alone kits were announced.