Robson is a mass storage system similar to a hybrid hard drive (HHD). Robson technology combines a conventional hard drive with a flash memory card. The flash memory handles the data most frequently written to or retrieved from storage and can also effectively increase the capacity of the drive. The principal difference between Robson and HHD technology is the fact that with Robson the flash memory is external to the drive but in an HHD the flash memory is contained in the drive housing.

Robson offers several advantages over conventional hard drives:

  • Faster data storage and retrieval for applications such as word processors
  • Faster boot-up and recovery from hibernation states
  • Lower power consumption
  • Decreased heat generation
  • Extended hard drive life
  • Extended battery life for notebook computers and personal digital assistants (PDAs)
  • Reduced levels of operating noise
  • Expandable effective drive capacity with the availability of multiple flash memory cards.

Limitations of Robson include:

  • Longer seek time for data stored on the hard drive
  • More frequent hard-drive spin-up and spin-down
  • Impossibility of data recovery from failed flash memory chips
  • Higher overall hardware cost for the system.

Robson is a code name originated by Intel, the corporation that conceived and developed the software that makes the external flash memory function smoothly with the drive. The flash memory chips themselves are manufactured by Toshiba, Samsung and others.

This was last updated in April 2007

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