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Dell offers flash drive option in its laptops

Posted: 27 Apr 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Dell computer flash? solid-state flash drive? Latitude notebook computer?

Dell said it is offering solid-state flash drives as an option on its Latitude corporate notebooks, a move that potentially makes a better product for people on the road.

The PC maker said that it is making a 1.8-inch, 32GB, solid-state drive from SanDisk available on its Dell Latitude D420 ultra-mobile and D620 semi-rugged notebooks. The hardware, however, isn't cheap, costing $549, or about $17 a gigabyte. Traditional hard drives with spinning discs and read/write heads cost less than $1 a gigabyte.

Dell, however, is hoping companies will trade the higher cost for a notebook that's less likely to break on the road. Solid-state disk drives (SSDs) have no moving parts, which make them far less likely than traditional hard disk drives (HDDs) to fail when jostled. Hard drives and displays are the two largest points of failure in notebooks, Dell said.

In addition, flash drives are faster than disk drives at getting data to the processor, which means significantly faster boot time and overall system performance. Dell claims its Latitude notebooks with SSD perform up to 23 percent faster, and take 34 percent less time to boot than systems with HDDs.

Out of the top five PC makers Dell is the first to offer a corporate laptop with a solid-state disk drive as an option, Samir Bhavnani, analyst for Current Analysis, said. "Of the big mainstream corporate notebook players, Dell is the first one."

Last month, an industry analyst tipped that Apple Inc. may sell flash-based notebook computers sometime in 2007the subnotebook computers.

Dell may be moving aggressively with new technology in an attempt to try to reverse an 18-month slump. The company is currently undergoing a major restructuring led by founder Michael Dell. Dell returned as chief executive this year following the resignation of Kevin Rollins.

For customers looking to boost the reliability of notebooks for workers constantly on the road, SSD-equipped computers are a strong option. "It's a big advantage for end users," Bhavnani said.

- Antone Gonsalves
InformationWeek




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