Solid State Drives and Laptops

PC Magazine is reporting that Alienware is adding Solid State Drives (SSD) to their notebook lineup. As PC Magazine points out, Dell added the option for SSDs to their Dell Latitude D420 lineup, as well as Fujitsu (LifeBook B6220 among others). While Alienware doesn’t have any ultraportable laptops currently in production, it’s still interesting (for those curious they are offering 32GB drives with 64GB Solid State Drive RAID arrays using two 32GB SSDs. Hopefully if more notebook makers add SSDs as an option, the prices will come down (and eventually capacities will go up).


By not utilizing any moving parts and not needing to spin up to search for data, solid state drives run quieter, consume less power and find data more quickly than traditional spinning hard drives, making them perfect for the on-the-go lifestyle of Alienware notebook users, the company said. Solid-state disks use NAND flash memory, the same components found within flash-based portable music players like the Apple iPod nano.

Meanwhile, Custom PC has done a very comprehensive review of several SSDs in various sizes and from various manufacturers. They include 2.5″ drives from Samsung, Transcend, PQI, STEC, and Apacer, ranging in size from 8GB to 32GB, and utilizing both IDE and Serial ATA (SATA) interfaces. They ran several benchmarks against each, giving you a good idea of performance.

They point out the biggest problem (cost):

In an ideal world, every PC would use a solid-state disk (SSD) to store data, rather than a hulking big mechanical hard disk. Using either DRAM or flash memory, SSDs are not only physically smaller than hard drives, but they’re also silent, much more reliable (due to the lack of moving parts), more power-efficient, produce less waste heat and are faster too. However, until recently, SSDs have been so expensive that they’ve only been adopted by the defence and finance industries, where high performance and robustness are far more important than a low price.

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