My problem is: I have a laptop with a single 2.5" SATA slot, and I want to have a fast interactive workflow (needs an SSD) and processing and storing of large media files (at least 1 TB, an SSD is too expensive, a HDD is good). An SSHD in the single SATA slot would work, but I don't trust the smartness how the SSHD firmware decides which blocks to keep on SSD (thus the SSHD can be slower than an SSD), and I also don't trust the failure mode (if the SSD or the HDD within the SSHD breaks, will I lose access to the blocks on the other device as well? probably I'll lose everything).

So I'm looking for a 2.5" SSHD for which I can access the SSD and the HDD separately on Linux, either as separate SATA devices, or as a single SATA device whose beginning (first few gigabytes) is mapped to the SSD, and the end (remaining gigabytes) is mapped to the HDD. Does such a product exist on the market? (I wasn't able to find one.) Is there a name for such products which I can use to search for them?

(Please note that I'm not looking for comparisons or recommendations.)

I'm not able to use separate SSD and HDD devices, because my laptop has only a single 2.5" SATA slot, and using external USB storage is not feasible in my use case.

Please note that I'm not interested in typical SSHD products, where the SSHD firmware decides (and hides) which data block goes to SSD and which data block goes to HDD.

I think a typical SSHD with a proper firmware upgrade could work (especially if the device presents itself as a single SATA device). Does such a device with such a firmware exist?

I know about the following alternatives:

  • Buying a very large (multi-terabyte) SSD.

  • Buying a new laptop which can fit both an HDD and an SSD.

  • Replacing the DVD reader in the laptop with an HDD.

  • Booting the laptop from a fast USB device (probably SSD) or memory card, and having a SATA HDD within the laptop.

  • Loading the entire operating system to RAM from HDD at boot time, and then running from RAM, and using the HDD for accessing media files only.

However, and SSHD with separate access to SSD and HDD would be better for me than the alternatives, because it's cheaper, simpler, doesn't need extra RAM, and doesn't need external devices to be connected.

I understand that data loss is more likely with a custom, unofficial, untested SSHD firmware than with the stock firmware.

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    I doubt you will find such a device. There is simply no market for it, and a device that would do that would be useless to the average user and most likely be more expensive than the workaround (to use 2 drives, one SSD and one HDD). – Fozi Aug 19 '17 at 20:10
  • @Fozi: There is a market for regular SSHD devices, and an SSHD could be made fit for my use cause with a firmware upgrade. So I don't need a new, custom device, just a firmware feature. – pts Aug 19 '17 at 21:02
  • The problem is that it needs to support the "SATA port multiplier" which is commonly not supported by the SATA controllers in an SSD or SSHD. So, no, a firmware upgrade won't be able to change that. – Fozi Aug 19 '17 at 21:08
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    @Fozi: The world is huge. Some programmers write and modify firmwares just for fun. Maybe someone already paid for such a custom firmware, and the result is made available. Posting a custom firmware to the internet is not a problem for e.g. home wifi routers and Canon cameras, it shouldn't be a problem for SSHDs either. If the custom firmware installation is cumbersome enough, then most end users won't attempt it, thus it's not dangerous for the data integrity of beginners. – pts Aug 19 '17 at 21:24
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    There MIGHT also be another option - if your computer has a DVD drive, you can sometimes replace these with a caddy and 2.5" SATA drive. – davidgo Aug 21 '17 at 10:30

Yes, this product exists. There may be other variations, but the WD Black2 Dual drive (https://support.wdc.com/knowledgebase/answer.aspx?ID=11090) does what you are looking for - WD drivers let a single SATA port be used to separately access ssd and hdd. Not sure how common these are though now.

This article explains how to use the WD Black2 Dual drive on Linux: https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/WD_Black2 . It also explains that a Windows system with a SATA port is needed (USB port doesn't work) to initially activate the HDD part.

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