Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Answer To A 21st-Century Maiden's Prayer?

Toshiba are now shipping what is, as far as I know, the first laptop with a fully solid-state hard drive. The new Toshiba Portege R500 can be had with a 64Gb solid-state memory, resulting in a machine that has "no moving parts" they say. Except, one might hope, for things like the keyboard keys, screen hinge etc. but we'll let that pass for now.

Much is made of its light weight (1.72 lbs) and long running time on battery power ("tremendous", is the exact description!), all of which can be had for a mere 2,699 of your Yankee dollars.

Couple of minor points, though:

(a) How come they aren't shouting about how fast Windows now boots, applications run, birds sing, etc? Access times have to be, what, 10% for a SSD vs. seek times for even a very small physical disk? What gives? This ought to be the #1 thing to crow about unless, somehow, Bill's bits manage to lose all those gains again somewhere along the way?

(b) The type of non-volatile memory used in the SSD has a limited life span, dictated by the number of read/write operations it sees. Don't know what that equates to in this case but I saw elsewhere that in digital TV applications they are planning to provide a lower-quality of picture storage for the time-slipped stuff in order to extend the life of the memory chips set for inclusion as an on-board, low-rent TiVo capability.
(c) The detailed specs take a paragraph to tell you about all the features included to provide "Executive Durability" (any one reckon this PDF was a rushed translation from the original Japanese flyer?) which include things like HDD shock absorption. Great! Err, but hang on, there aren't any HDDs in it any more, which is surely the whole point of the thing in the first place?

Whatever, I will eagerly await the PC magazine reviews to see if this is the ultimate way, finally, to get the bloody things booting and restoring in anything less than a week.

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