Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Toshiba's SSD-based notebooks double their capacity

In a move to bolster its Portege notebook lineup, Toshiba today introduced a new notebook that features a single 128 GB solid-state drive.

Although the Alienware Area-51 m9750 can be configured up to 128 GB SSD using two 64 GB units, the R500-S5007V Portege is the first truly portable notebook with a single 128 GB SSD.

Toshiba's "recommended" $2,999 R500-S5007V configuration includes a 1.33 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, 2GB DDR2 RAM, 12.1-in. screen, and integrated SuperMulti optical drive. It also ships with Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and Bluetooth. Previous Portege models had 64 GB SSD storage for the same $2,999 price tag.

The notebook is 0.77-in. thick and weighs just 2.4 pounds, but has up to eight hours of battery life on a single charge.

Toshiba's Portege R500 notebook already was known as the world's thinnest and lightest notebook in the world, and will add the 128 GB SSD drive adds one more highlight to the notebook line. But the company is facing competition from similar products, such as the Apple MacBook Air and Lenovo ThinkPad X300 notebooks. Most manufacturers are hesitant to include a 128 GB SSD, due to the higher costs involved. The MacBook Air took over the world's thinnest award, with measurements of 0.76-in. thickness and 12.8-in. width, and weighs just 3.0 pounds. The competing ThinkPad X300 measures 12.5 x 9.1 x 0.73 inches, and weighs in a bit heavier at 3.4 pounds.

Toshiba's SSD-based notebooks double their capacity

While the Portege is technically an ultra-portable notebook, but the ThinkPad X300 and MacBook Air are stuck in a void between ultra-portable and standard notebooks. IDC classifies "ultra-portable" as anything with a 12-in. screen or smaller and weighing less than 4 pounds.

Unlike traditional HDDs, SSDs do not have any moving parts, which helps reduce power consumption and increase battery runtime. In addition to their use in PCs and notebooks, SSDs are expected to eventually be used in MP3 players and other portable flash-based devices.

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